Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mandatory Retirement Age in Wrestling

The recent heart attack of Jerry Lawler cast into the light a rather interesting problem in wrestling. Wrestling in many ways is a young man's sport. Given the number of wrestlers who have passed away when they were young, it is not one for longevity. It is also not a profession for a happy and stable life, with broken marriages, broken families, and in many cases broken bodies. Should there be an age where wrestlers have to hang it up? 
The physical toil of professional wrestling is one that causes people to break down rather quickly. Jerry Lawler is one of the few people to live a relatively clean lifestyle. Yet, there are many others who have lived lifestyles that are less than clean. Not to mention, professional wrestling allows grown men to relieve the glory days of high school time and time again. 
The most obvious example would be Ric Flair. The sins of never ceasing to be Ric Flair have caught up to him over the years. Four divorces and a lot of debt later, the fact the Nature Boy had to climb into the ring at such an advanced age really shows you something. Hulk Hogan is another one, his body is busted and his personal problems took a toil on him. If Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan did not become professional wrestlers, then they may have lived a better lifestyle and made better choices. Or they may have made the same choices.

It is a relief to hear Jerry Lawler is on the mend, and hopefully he can return to the commentary booth. While a return to the ring has not been ruled out by Lawler's doctors, it should be something that the King should strongly consider not doing. While it is easy to get caught up in the moment when you hear the cheers of the fans, and a blessing to do something you enjoy into an advanced age, there are times where one must leave well enough alone. 
To go back to the original question, it is difficult to have a mandatory retirement age in wrestling, because it is not really regulated. WWE might be wrestling, but there are other options. There are stories of guys toiling on the independent wrestling scene for years and years, because they have to scrape by a living. However, wrestlers should be better educated on the choices they make.

Getting them to listen in the end might be a harder endeavor, and obviously it's not just making bad choices. The roar of the crowd, just one more time in the ring, can be more addictive than any drug. There will come a time where one more time will become one last time.

No comments: