Tag Archives: sports

A Night at Lucha Libre

The first day in Mexico City concluded at Mexican wrestling or lucha libre. After the havoc and confusion at the box office, I located my seat in the arena. It was on the second row from the ring—perfect for the night. From then on, with some Tecate, I let myself to be open-minded and went with the flow.

To be honest, I had had doubts about this branch of entertainment until I watched Sense8. It was a scene at lucha libre. Hernando, one of the main character’s boyfriend, dissected it:

This is the Manichaean drama. It’s life and death, good and evil. La parca negra (a grim reaper—evil side of the wrestling match) is a symbol. He is the devil in our lives. For some, he can represent the government, the class system or any form of oppression. But for most of us, he is that fear we are afraid to face.

This is a dance that is also a fight. The struggle that takes place in the ring is a reflection of the struggle that takes place in our minds and in our hearts. At some point, we all encounter our own parca negra. He is that thing we are afraid of, that thing that stops us from becoming what we know we can become. Until we defeat him, we will never know peace.

That scene cracked my curiosity about lucha libre and made me want to experience a real one. And I was glad I did so.

The lineup consisted of four or five matches. Each fight was between black and white of some sort: heroes and villains, patriots and foreigners, etc. Some won and some lost. That was life. Unlike a sporting event, there was a narrative like a stage show. And unlike a stage performance, there was an engagement with the spectators like a sport.

The audience had total liberty to pick their sides. Interactions between the wrestlers and the crowds were also intense, either cheering or booing. As the night went by toward the final match, the energy in the arena erupted to the roof.

View from the second row
View from the second row

My seat allowed me to see the fights up-close and record some actions on my phone—I still couldn’t believe that luck. Some punches were stunts. But their acrobatic moves were also real. That seemed to be another layer of duality hidden in it. But I didn’t want to read it too much and let go of myself.

By the end of the night, I was both educated and entertained. My doubts were demystified. It was undeniably a fun night. And I appreciated and admired the performance more . There couldn’t be a better way to wrap up the first day in Mexico City like a night at lucha libre.

Capturing lucha libre on mobile phones
Capturing lucha libre

Cats in a Hot Thin Stadium

2007 SEA Games Mascot: CAN

I don’t know why I go through the Opening Ceremony of 24th SEA Games almost the whole show, maybe because of my old profession when we did 13th Asian Games Opening and Closing Ceremony 9 years ago or just the unquestionable patriotism. It takes such a patience to download badly encoded videos from the official website. Since no one has put it on YouTube yet, giving the fact that Thailand has just recently unblocked the entire site.

2007 SEA Games Opening Ceremony

Moreover, it takes quite a thick skin to watch it through with a number of points that severely embarrass me as a Thai. You know, every time while I am watching this kind of performances, I always want to smother the commentators from the network who try to give every details of every movements on the screen as if we could not see the things. Luckily, these videos have no commentator to annoy me. However, this ceremony, there are two presenters explaining the concept before each segment and the other two voice over narrators describing in between all through the show, both in Thai and English. Now we are not just blind but also dumb.

The show tries very hard to tell the world how amazing Thailand is by beginning every segment with Amazing with capital A. Hey, that is a tourist pamphlet and it is an old one that has been used up for over a decade. I am not going to complaint about the oversaturated loyalty to the King in the opening segment, The Amazing Great King. The narration tells it all and it goes on and on and on and on. At last, girls in silver cat suits come out in the final segment, The Amazing Celebrations. Those baby cat dolls bring the joy to His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5th December 2007 Sports Complex with their playful chreography and seems to fulfil the night perfectly.

SEA Games is a biannual Olympic-like of South East Asian countries. This year the Game is held mainly in the north-eastern city of Thailand, Nakorn Ratchasima or Korat. It is clearly an indulgence that the host shamelessly uses the event to inflate nationalism rather than celebrate the sportsmanship of the nations. Of course, with no giants like USA, Russia and China, it is much easier to compete amongst ourselves and win, at any causes.