I took a trip back in time thanks to an old buddy of mine who is a sports editor for some of the weekly newspapers here in Eastern Massachusetts, including for my hometown of Billerica.
My mother, of all people, tore out a story by my friend, Doug Hastings, that appeared in the Billerica Minuteman. She hand delivered it to me last week and said, “Read this.”
The column was about a local wrestler named Flex Armstrong, and Doug wrote it from the perspective of a long-time fan still finding excitement in wrestling after watching Armstrong compete in a match recently in Rhode Island.
I know a lot of WWE fans who still keep tabs on the independent pro wrestling scene, which is pretty active these days in the Boston area. Lowell, Mass., which is just north of Billerica, has hosted Chaotic Wrestling shows for years.
My favorite line in Doug’s story was this gem:
As a kid, there weren’t many bigger wrestling fans than me, although Billerica’s very own Scott Wallask might have me beat, but not by much.
Well, Wallask is me, and I got a good laugh out such high praise.
I met Doug in 1984 at a summer camp just as the WWF was beginning its national expansion. We were both still in middle school, and he was the first kid I ever met who was a unabashed fan of the heels, with his favorite being Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Shit, he even named his dog Roddy.
Doug woke me up to the idea that yeah, a kid really could go every month to the WWF house shows at the old Boston Garden. I remember him telling me about the match results in Boston from any given Saturday night card in the summer and fall of 1984.
And now, more than 30 years later, here Doug was name-dropping me in a newspaper column. He and I actually worked in the same office for a couple of years during my own newspaper days, and we would continuously joke about 1980s wrestlers, such as Salvatore Bellomo and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
Doug’s column is a good read about an indie wrestler, and features my old pal’s subtle humor: “I still have a collection of VHS and Betamax video tapes loaded with WWF wrestling matches.”