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Me and Benoit - WrestleMania 18 Toronto CN, March 2002

The picture you see above is myself with Chris Benoit, taken March 15th, 2002 at the Fanfest in Toronto leading up to WrestleMania 18. The pic was taken for charity, as for $10 you could get your pic with Benoit or Big Show. I don't recall any great facts from meeting Chris, other than he shook my hand and we made small talk for a few seconds before the pic. Still hard to believe that he's gone. Also below is an email I got earlier today from a close friend, who is by no means a wrestling fan, who shares an interesting view on the sports and wrestling world and his view of this current situation:

"As I said yesterday, we all have demons, some just have deeper ones than others. At Times like this it truly is tough to make sense of things, why bad things happen to good people. But you have the right mind set. Remember the things that you admired about Benoit and gave you enjoyment. You know we in the Sports Media have to deal with a very strange breed of animal. Athletes are told to be leaders, yet they have to follow rules in lock step fashion, that concept alone is kind of mind bending . They are filled with Testosterone and Adrenaline while on the court, field, ring, and then expected to calm down and interact with us ten minutes after they leave their venues, It is really surprising that we get as many civil people in the locker rooms that we do. Now Amp that up 1000 fold for Boxers,and Wrestlers, these folks are literally sometimes foaming at the mouth, in wrestling is it an act, well we all know it is to a certain extent. But still to put on the show that they do there has to be at least a ramp up in emotions, I mean even if the guy across the ring from you is a good friend. With the passion and yelling from the crowds, that alone is going to take you to another mindset, probably like Gladiators facing the lions. And then when it is over, they are supposed to take off their trunks, and go back to being a civil law abiding member of society. It's almost surprising when you break it down like this that so many athletes keep it in check. And there are only two people that truly know what led this sad man to do this, he and his wife. Did he just snap, were there extenuating circumstances, unfortunately we will probably truly never know. Especially for someone like you who takes religion so deeply, it must be the ultimate mind bender, how could a loving and just Divine Being allow things like this to happen. Well unfortunately deep down we are all creatures of free will, and we all make mistakes, sometime with very deep and tragic ramifications. I guess at times like these we just have to appreciate even more the gifts we have, Kristin (my wife) for you, Polly (his wife) for me, and we are two of the luckiest guys on the planet to do something we love as our jobs. If there is a divine plan, maybe that is why things like this happen, so we can take a moment to step back and realize the gifts we have. Hopefully this puts things maybe in a better perspective for you. Let me know if you need to talk, and say a prayer for me tonight at church in his memory. JSS"

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About me

  • I'm Matt Loede
  • From Cleveland OH
  • Matt has been involved in sports media for over ten years, with experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB for the past 13+ years.
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