Get in the ring
|By Bill Castanier|
Author hits mat for closer look at wrestling mania
Ted Kluck is at again. This time the Grand Ledge-based sports writer has set his sights on exploring professional wrestling in the style of George Plimpton’s “Paper Lion,” the seminal participatory sports book.
In his previous outings, Kluck has written on boxing in “Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories,” and his first-person experiences playing arena football in “Paper Tiger: One Athlete’s Journey.”
Turning to his boyhood love of professional wrestling, Kluck, 33, leapt into the squared circle to find inspiration for his latest book, “Headlocks and Dropkicks: A Butt-Kicking Ride through the World of Professional Wrestling.”
“I remember watching Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts when I was a kid,” Kluck said. “Every guy goes through a phase for wrestling and its weird, circusy subculture. You know it’s not real, but it’s a good versus evil morality play, and it’s fun.”
To train, Kluck first traveled to Chicago to check out professional wrestling trainer and promoter Rich Jenig, who runs matches with names like “New Year’s Evil” and “Thanksgiving Turmoil.” It helped that Jenig is a cousin who was familiar with Kluck’s strange proclivities.
In the book, Kluck tells how by the time he showed up for training he had already worked out some of his persona; he planned to call himself either Professor Pain or The Great American Author, and his finishing move would be christened the “tenure track.”
Working with other potential pros, Kluck learned the classic moves and holds, such as the hammerlock, side headlock and lockup. For those who are interested, training at Price of Glory Wrestling School in Coldwater runs $95 a month. Kluck found out you are basically paying to collect bruises and soreness.
The author was also exposed to some of the seedier sides of wrestling, and he met some female wrestling divas who pose for photos in skimpy costumes. He also scored an interview with Stych, a wrestling diva discovered by Vince McMahon, head of World Wrestling Entertainment.
To live the final part of his dream, Kluck built a ring in his basement. Using plans he found online, he and a buddy gathered used car tires to place under the ring for bounce. He created not only a ring, but also his own league, the Literary Wrestling Alliance, which is reminiscent of a group of 10-year-olds staging a wrestling show in the basement with cardboard championship belts.
‘Headlocks & Dropkicks: A Butt- Kicking Ride through the World of
When this year’s One Book One Community chose the “The Soloist” for incoming Michigan State University freshmen to read, they didn’t know they could be providing an early lesson in how to study for college: rent the movie. It wasn’t until later that the Cliffs Notes video equivalent of the “The Soloist,” by Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez, was released. The “The Soloist” is the straightforward story of Lopez’ experiences with a talented, schizo phrenic street musician living on L.A.’s skid row.
Lopez will make two appearances in East Lansing to discuss the book. The first is 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, at East Lansing High School auditorium. The second is an address to MSU freshmen at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 31 at the Breslin Center. Both events are free and open to the public.
If you hurry, you still have time to rent the DVD.