I read the two-parter on backyard wrestling ("Backyard Bloodbath," Bob Norman, April 5 and 12). And ya know, for once I don't feel so good about being a rabid wrestling fan.... I mean I loved the bloodletting of ECW [Extreme Championship Wrestling], but this -- this is just plain... bad. Great article, though. The reporter ought to win some sort of award for it. And while part of me realizes these kids are just emulating the sport they love, it still makes me feel like shit to read about all their injuries, etc. (Yeah, I know, if they weren't doing this, they'd be trying Jackass-like stunts that they see on that MTV series. Have you seen it? I have, and sometimes it's laugh-out-loud hilarious. I mean, these meatheads deserve everything they get and yet, at other times, it's pretty "squirmy," kind of like the syndicated Blind Date series. But I guess that's the whole point). Someone's gonna get killed in all this, and you know it's the longtime wrestling fans (like yours truly) who are going to suffer for it.
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Mom is stupid:
We picked up New Times last week, and it's been sitting on the dining room table for a few days. My 11-year-old son said to me this morning, "Geez Mom, throw that paper away! That kid on the cover is a freak!" So I will toss it today. I read the story to my kids (ages 12, 11, and 10) when they saw the pic and wanted to know what happened. All three were amazed at the stupidity of John [Ulloa], his brother, and most of all Carolyn Lister.
Don't think for a minute that we are prudish or sheltered. My boys like to watch wrestling, and we enjoy extreme sports of all kinds. This EFW [Extreme Fuckin' Wrestling], however, is nothing short of moronic and sick! The self-mutilation displayed by this bunch in an effort to gain attention and respect is outrageous. What kind of fool is Carolyn to stand by and let her sons abuse themselves? Clearly the whole family needs help.
In one photo of John preparing to jump off a balcony, there are young children hugging the rail to get a good view of the action. This leads me to believe that there are other parents who find this amusing and productive. Don't they realize their son or daughter could be the next fool to jump? OK, the stupid Lister/ Ulloa family aside, here is what really bothers me; the emergency techs and hospital staff are required by law to attend to these losers when they get hurt. Give me a break!
Mr. Norman, thanks for the article, as I probably never would have dreamed that a family could all be involved in this, and kudos to you for not "glorifying" the EFW but instead painting a true picture.
Victoria Victor and family
The kids are stupid:
I cannot believe anyone would do something as stupid as this. These wrestlers are deluding themselves if they think they will get wrestling stardom out of this. Just because it happened to one person does not mean it will happen to them.
And the lengths they go to entertain people... You can tell there's a lack of parental guidance here. Who in their right mind at a young age would think of cutting themselves, taking chair shots to the head, and otherwise causing serious injury to themselves before they are even 30? And for what?
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Floridians are stupid:
I read with utter disgust your article on Extreme F'ing Wrestling. Yankees like myself have a tendency to stereotype Floridians as jet setters, antediluvians, or trailer trash. Sadly, your article merely confirms our narrow-mindedness, at least as to the third category.
But the broader issue concerns a society that permits this kind of child abuse and mayhem to continue unchecked. Floridians of all stripes should pay attention to your message and move quickly to stem this madness before it engulfs you entirely.
Joseph M. Finnin
The Chinese Commies are kinda, well...:
Maybe we really do need a war. A "real" one. These young men need to go into the military regardless. Perhaps with overpopulation and no outlet for our animal aggression, it is only natural that we have come to this -- beating the daylights out of each other.
I do not care how bored these kids are, there is obviously something wrong with them. When I was young and aggressive or bored, I never dreamed of throwing myself off a rooftop. I played Optimist football instead. And when I dreamed of fame, I was never covered in my blood or anyone else's during my fantasies.
I believe that we as Americans have forgotten or no longer understand what true horror and suffering is. I do not think that this issue is a religious, spiritual, or parental problem. This has nothing to do with guidance. I do not blame television or the film industry, either.
To me the answer is simple, really. Put a ton of alpha males in a box with no doors for 30 or 40 years with nothing to do, and look what happens. It's like the kid in the story says, "They're bloodthirsty, our fans. They just want someone to get killed."
The U.S. government should get the videos that these kids make and show them to the Chinese. I think it will make China think twice about messing with us when they see these maniacs. Then again, this is exactly why China fears the West in the first place.
Thank you for the story. I do not know if you meant to, but you scared the hell out of me.
But Norman is not at all stupid:
What an eye opener your article was! I am so impressed with your ability to uncover such a story. I think that it is so important for us parents to know that this kind of behavior is going on. Too often we get so caught up with things in our own lives that we do not even realize what our own children are up to. The pictures that went along with your article are also amazing!
They sure do seem to capture the feeling of what is going on. You must be very proud of yourself for bringing to our attention such an important issue. Hope to be seeing lots more of your and your photographer in the future.
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So Norman should get these kids help:
I don't know how to begin.... This story disgusted and deeply saddened me. Our family is in the process of moving to South Florida; we were looking at Coral Springs, but after reading this story, I can with utmost certainty say that we will not be relocating there. I realize that this sort of thing can happen in any large community, which is why we will move a little farther north to a smaller area.
I am amazed that these children are not taken into the custody of Children's Protective Services. Obviously the parents can't control and don't care what these children do. Yes, they are teenagers, but they are also still children who require adult guidance and supervision. There is none here, and I can't believe that the state and community do not step in and do something about this. These "parents" should relinquish these children to the state, since they have no obvious cares about raising them.
We as a society wonder why our teens are having violent outbursts. Reading a story such as this just points the finger back to parents and "us" as a society. Condoning these type of activities and making excuses comparable to "boys will be boys" and "high, imbalanced testosterone levels cause this" is equivalent to saying, "Dealing with this problem is too difficult, therefore let's just ignore it!" I don't remember ever being so outraged and affected so deeply by an article as [I have by] this one.... I am not sure that I am glad I picked up this journal in a little restaurant in Pembroke Pines, but it sure has been an eye-opening experience. Please use your journalistic talents to do some good in this situation and get these children the much-needed help they deserve. They are crying out for it, although they would be the last to admit it.
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