This article originally appeared in the Sponsored Issue.
I am at a children’s wrestling tournament, because that’s the funniest thing I can think of right now. Like, excuse me, but why the hell are the children wrestling? These to me are worse than beauty pageants, because in beauty pageants, the children are beautiful, whereas in wrestling tournaments, the children are sweaty and disgusting. Instead of gorgeous dresses and darling suits, they wear horrible singlets. My nightmare scenario is that for the talent portion of a beauty pageant, two of the children wrestle. This fear almost prevents me from regularly attending children’s beauty pageants. If I wanted to watch people wrestle, I would watch grown adults wrestle, because they are stronger and the wrestling is thus more entertaining. It’s like watching the lightweight crew team. Sure, those boys are lithe, but I want to see the big, fast boys row, the ones who could
The lightweight crew team are like child wrestlers, and I don’t care if I get flak for saying it. This is the hill I will die on.
Anyways, I am at a children’s wrestling tournament, recruiting child wrestlers for the first ever Elliot Connors Memorial Children’s Wrestling Tournament, Presented by the Yale Record.
“I need $1,000 dollars for my wrestling tournament.” Now it’s the day before and I’m talking to our publisher and my good friend Chloe Prendergast.
“What wrestling tournament?” she asks, naively. Sometimes I wonder how Chloe became the publisher of the Record and my good friend. “Also, why do you need $1,000?”
“It’s for the Elliot Connors Memorial Children’s Wrestling Tournament For Charity, Presented by the Yale Record. I need the money so I can travel around the country recruiting the best child wrestlers.”
“We don’t have $1,000 for your children’s wrestling tournament.”
“But Chloe,” I implore, “it’s for charity. Besides, it’ll basically pay for itself. I’m going to monetize it with corporate sponsors.”
“Who is going to sponsor a children’s wrestling tournament?”
“Amazon. I’ve already written the ad. ‘Amazon proudly sponsors the Elliot Connors Memorial For-Profit Children’s Wrestling Academy, Presented by the Yale Record and Amazon. Amazon: Bringing You What You Need, When You Need It. Because Our Business IS Show Business.’ All that’s going to be superimposed over a picture of Jeff Bezos in a child’s singlet stepping on a child wrestler he has defeated, with the referee holding up Bezos’s hand to indicate his victory over the child wrestler.”
Chloe is unmoved by my emotional pitch. She’s all about cold, hard numbers. I try to tell her the academy will train one hundred of America’s best child wrestlers for a tournament that will draw a projected fifteen attendees from across the New Haven metropolitan area, but all she cares about is money. Money, money, money. Money, money, money, money, money, money, money. (Checks word count). Money, money.
I am PO’ed (pissed off) at Chloe for not understanding my vision: thousands of child wrestlers, glistening with sweat, all vying for a spot in my internationally ranked, incredibly lucrative children’s wrestling and manners academy for charity for profit as I crank up the heat in the gym, the sweat now pooling on the mats, it’s going to cost a fortune to dry clean them because all of the local dry cleaners refuse to clean my wrestling mats so I have to bribe the fire chief to let me use the big hoses, but it’ll be worth every penny to help these kids reach their goddamned dreams. I am left wondering what part of this vision Chloe doesn’t understand, and why she’s so afraid to believe in something bigger than herself.
As a last ditch effort, I challenge her to a wrestle for the cash. To my surprise, she accepts. I defeat her handsomely, for she is a vegan and I am a vegetarian. It is moments like these that make me glad I drink a gallon of milk each day straight from the jug, like my big, fast boys on heavyweight crew do with water; it enables me to stand up for what I believe in. But as I leave with the check, I look back at Chloe, eyes glistening, and realize she let me win. She believed in me all along; she just couldn’t say it. It would be political suicide to openly support a children’s wrestling tournament in this economy. Then again, you can always find a reason to postpone your dreams, and these kids sure as hell aren’t getting any younger.
It is like this that I find myself outside a two-story colonial in the suburbs of Chicago, hand delivering my final invitation to a promising young child wrestler who caught my eye at the tournament because he was much bigger than the other wrestlers and kept blowing a whistle. Standing here, I am reminded of the blissful childhood I missed out on because of my parents’ clinical depression, which I have unfortunately inherited, and realize that the mission of my academy goes so far beyond teaching children to wrestle. Our mission is to cure depression. Yes, it’s ambitious, and no, I don’t think it will be easy. But who ever said running the world’s first ever children’s wrestling academy for the cure for charity for profit was going to be easy? And of course, we couldn’t do it without our generous sponsors. Amazon, we love you baby. You’re doing the lord’s work.
Editor in Chief