Last week, I presented several funny stories – and some that were not so funny – about different sports celebrities. At the end of the column, I said that I would tell you some of my own stories about meeting sports figures over the years at a later date. I had a couple of people ask me when I would do that and I said I might start next week. Well, this is next week and I am about to tell you one of them.
About a dozen years ago, I went to Mississippi with my family one weekend to watch some WWE events – one in Hattiesburg and one in Biloxi on consecutive nights. It was a chance to get out of town and relax a bit and to let my two daughters enjoy a couple of nights of wrestling – the events were what is referred to as “House” shows. Most of these type events advertise big name wrestlers to be on hand, but have a disclaimer at the bottom saying the matches are “subject to change” and usually are changed. You are lucky to get to see one or two well-known wrestlers at these events.
Well, on the first night, I was amazed that the matches did not change from those advertised as including Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels and the Viper Randy Orton. There were others, but those were basically the ones my daughters wanted to see. We watched the first matches in Hattiesburg on Saturday night and then drove to Biloxi for a Sunday afternoon show. We stayed at a local hotel off the main highway where the large casinos were located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. When I awakened Sunday morning, I walked over to my window to see if there were any shrimp boats leaving for the day. As I glanced down about eight floors below me, I saw a man exercising. Right away, I realized the man was Shawn Michaels. I turned to my daughters who were still in bed and said, “Man that looks like the Heartbreak Kid.” They both told me I was telling a fib just to get them to get out of the bed. I said, “No, I’m pretty sure that is Shawn Michaels.” I also mentioned there was a very pretty woman with him holding a baby. My daughters got up and took a look at the man I was talking about. They had no doubts that Daddy had told the truth. They said, “Let’s go meet him.” They both took quick showers – as did I – and got ready to meet a real live wrestling superstar. It was really no big deal since we had all met professional wrestlers in the past – including the greatest two of them all the American Dream Dusty Rhodes and the Nature Boy Rick Flair.
But when they finally got dressed and it was time to head down to meet Shawn Michaels, my daughters began to balk at making the trip. I told them I was going to go and talk to him. They said, “He won’t talk to you. He doesn’t know you.” I told them, “He will soon.”
I took the elevator down to the first floor and walked out to meet Shawn Michaels. But, he was no longer exercising where I had seen him. He was now over at the hotel’s swimming pool. I headed for the pool, but took my time walking over the long way around the pool because I knew my daughters were watching me closely to see if I really was going to meet one of their favorite wrestlers. I finally made it to where Shawn Michaels was and introduced myself. I told him how much my daughters had enjoyed watching him perform in Hattiesburg the night before. He said to tell them thanks for attending the event and asked if they were going to be at the matches that afternoon. I told him they would be there. He then introduced me to the pretty woman with him – his wife, formerly known as “Whisper” when she was a dancer for the WCW organization in Atlanta. After meeting them, I left to go back to my room.
As I was about to enter the hotel, my oldest daughter, Marla, came walking out. She asked me to go with her to meet Shawn Michaels. I told her I would not because they made me go alone to meet him. She hesitated, but then decided to go by herself to meet Shawn Michaels and his wife. I went on to the room.
As Marla was about to go back into the hotel, my youngest daughter, Mara, came out and asked her to go with her to meet Shawn Michaels. Marla told her no for the same reason I gave her for not walking back over. Well, Mara decided she was not going to go by herself and went back in the hotel with Marla to come back to the room. Before they headed for the room, they stopped to get a pastry and drinks to bring back to the room for breakfast.
As they stepped into the elevator, pressed the number to our floor and watched as the door began to close, it suddenly stopped and opened again. Guess who stepped on the elevator? Yes, Shawn Michaels and his wife. They chatted until they had to leave the elevator. It would only be Mara’s luck that this would happen. She always seems to be the luckiest one in the family. She once recognized a chef that was on television walking around at the Phenix City Publix. She got her picture taken with him. He was in town to visit some friends and was getting groceries to cook for the friends.
I still have other stories I can tell, but space will not allow me to tell them now. Maybe another week in the not-too-distant future.
Mark Clark is a local sports writer for The Citizen of East Alabama.