Sunday 19 February 2012

Nick's WWE Contest - And Now Mum Needs a Drink!

I think it was about two weeks ago that Nick and I came upon a notice online about a contest hosted by World Wrestling Entertainment superhero, The Ultimate Warrior. Mr. Warrior challenged his fans to impersonate him in a short film, then post it to YouTube where all Warrior fans could vote. The winner would receive tickets to a live show in the States and a chance to meet the 6'7" athlete/artist/philosopher/madman.

Nick has always loved the over-the-top antics of the WWE. He guffaws at the outrageous story-lines and gasps when his heros are slammed to the mat. A few months ago, Nick completed a long and arduous social services survey about his life aspirations. Chief among them was to take a road trip with a friend in order to 'find' the Ultimate Warrior, who no longer wrestles regularly, but actively corresponds with legions of fans on a personal website amusingly named "Warrior University". Warrior is a madman - he spouts incomprehensible 'philosophy' and uses his trademark growl to punctuate his tirades. It's the stuff of legend and Nick adores it.

Nicholas decided to enter the contest. Nick already had the growl down pat. In fact, when he wanted to tell me something new about his superhero, a growl was his code for Warrior (Nick cannot speak, but uses sound codes to great communication advantage). Together, we made this shopping list: Blonde or light brown mullet wig, strings to tie biceps, and face-paint in black, yellow and red. Josh, Nick's helper and friend, has an arts background and managed to do a terrific job with makeup. On computer, the boys worked together to embed theme music and visual effects into their film. Josh read the Warrior script from offscreen and Nick took centrestage in wig and full make-up, growling ominously. When the film was complete, Josh uploaded it to YouTube to be ready for its submission to the contest.

The next day, Nick's video appeared on the Warrior's Facebook Page. Team Warrior located the film and posted it as "a great first entry". Lots of other fans commented. Most of the comments were positive and encouraging, but some were very upsetting. A couple of people wrote that Josh had duped Nick into entering the contest and 'used' him in a cowardly and exploitative way. Another person called the film simply 'disturbing'. Some of the comments on YouTube were worse. One wrote "Ultimate Shiavo" (sic), a reference to the Florida woman whose family fought about the removal of her feeding tube after doctors argued that she was brain dead. The worst of the comments we had removed from the Warrior site and from YouTube. But, the vast majority of the comments were positive, encouraging and even inspiring. It's hard to focus on the positive though, when some are so hurtful.

It's an unsettling sensation being on the receiving end of hate and ignorance. My first inclination was to protect my treasured son from this poison and remove the film and any evidence of it from the web. But Nicholas' cooler head prevailed. "Nevermind those idiots, I don't care. I have warrior spirit!" I think Nick is used to the extreme trash talk that swirls around the WWE, but it's a language that I abhor. I have to admit, some of the comments on others' entries were almost as harsh.

But the message here is not whether the WWE should clean up its act. The message here is one about resilience, courage, imagination and yes, it's the message that is the moniker of the Warrior - "Believe, Always Believe". I wavered and Nicholas did not. He exposed himself and his dreams with courage, dignity, imagination and talent.

Please vote for Nicholas in the Ultimate Warrior contest, because there is only one warrior and it's Nicholas Wright. (Important Note: You will find the words "Vote Here" in small writing on the right of the Warrior home page. A browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the entries and vote. A MAC Safari browser won't work.)

Thank you!

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