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Dr. Darin Davis

Minnesota independent pro wrestler discusses past experiences and the current state of pro wrestling

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Category: Personal

For the second time in the last six months, my childhood friend Carey lost another parent. His father Bernie passed away last week. Though he was 85, he was sharp as a tack right up until the end.

I remember summers when I was in high school our families used to take day trips out to a little known lake in northern Wisconsin. The typical outing would be swimming or using an inflatable raft, Frisbee, a picnic lunch, and a big dinner of grilled meat (no vegans in this bunch). Sometimes the kids would play touch football against the adults. Only touch actually meant tackle depending on the play.

The adults used to complain a bit over how sore they were the next day, which us kids used to laugh off. Not as funny now, since there have been days where I have to get out of bed in stages (like Terry Funk in the wrestling documentary Beyond The Mat) after doing something strenuous the previous day.

Even up until the last time I saw him, Bernie would still ask about the pro wrestling. He seemed to get a big kick out of it. He and his wife were living out of town by the time I started it, so he never got a chance to see me do it. It never occurred to me to send him a recording of any of my matches until now. Like a lot of things you should do, you don’t think about them until later.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure they’ve got DVD players in heaven. Maybe not progressive scan, but for lower-quality VHS transfers that’s overkill anyway.

We’ll miss you Bernie.

Last week, my childhood friend Carey’s  mother passed away. This was the second close friend in a little over a year who lost a mother.

His mother Shirley was very creative. She ran a ceramics studio (which is how our parents met), she painted (watercolor and acrylic), sewed, crocheted, did needlepoint, made clothing, and was a terrific cook.

During junior and senior high school I practically lived over at their house in the summer, eating three meals a day there for several day stretches. She always used to say, “I need to put some weight on you. Fatten you up.” It eventually worked, but that was a few years later 😉

Even though I rant a lot about how bad wrestling storylines can be, one thing that I’ve always liked about wrestling was being able to tell a story within a wrestling match (or across a series if you were lucky). A match should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. As a rookie, you sometimes started in the middle, or you ended in the middle. Over time you figured out how to get the crowd involved and let them influence the sequence of events, building up to a finish that they would react to. They might end up happy or angry, but they reacted if you did it right.

I’d like to think that some part of me was influenced by the creative people in my life, and Shirley was one of them.

We will miss you.

The mother of my good friend Tim passed away last week. I went back home for the funeral service this past weekend. Tim’s mother Karen lost her second battle with cancer at the age of 65.

As I would have expected, there was a really big turnout at the church. It made me think of a book I had recently read called The Tipping Point, where the author describes different types of personalities, including this one:

“Sprinkled among every walk of life are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances. They are Connectors.”

Karen was a Connector. At the service, I saw many friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, I saw several of my elementary school teachers, and other people I’ve known over the years that were there because of knowing her. They knew her from when she worked in the school system, or from her church, or from the handbell choir, or from her coffee group, or from visiting the McDonald’s where Tim and I worked, or from traveling,… the list goes on.

Tim’s parents and my parents met when we both started Kindergarten, so I’ve known her and her husband Jack since I was 5 years old. When I started wrestling, Karen and Jack were very supportive. I remember them driving down to Hayward, WI to see me wrestle Robbie Thunder at the LCO Casino. She seemed to get a kick out of being there and I’m sure was cheering for me during the match.

One of the memories that popped into my head was a running joke that had started around the time that Tim and I were finishing high school or just starting college. I was over at his parent’s house and I somehow ended up eating a Milk Bone dog treat. I don’t remember if it was just to see what it tasted like, or if I was dared to. After that, whenever I would go over there, even years later, she would say something like, “Can I get you anything? Do you want a Coke? Or a Milk Bone?”

She will be missed.