It’s true. In my teenage years I was a backyard wrestler. As expected, this news is met with mixed reactions. But whatever your personal feelings on backyard wrestling, it was one of the best things I did in my teen years. I didn’t care about wrestling before I started, but once I gave myself an identity (Serena) and adopted a finisher (DDT) I was hooked. Backyard wrestling became my passion, and those who did it with me, my closest friends.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and defend the merits of backyard wrestling. It’s dangerous, most times stupid, and I’m sure there are many ways a group of teenagers could better spend their time. But for us, and our “federation,” aptly named Philadelphia Extreme Wrestling, there was a bit of magic involved. When we were out there every week, we were super stars in our own right, battling the norm to create something that was special and all our own.
For those of you not in the know, Backyard Wrestling isn’t just a group of kids with a camera smashing each other in the face with light bulbs and jumping off of batting cages. Sure, that shit happens. But these things are typically far more organized than that, with cards, matches, and well thought out story lines drafted the week leading up to each event. Down to who was allowed to operate the camera, announce the matches, or cue the music, everything was planned before we stepped out into that muddy “arena,” and gave it our best shot. At one point, we even held try outs for main event matches, and an award show highlighting the best matches, wrestlers, and events of the year.
The bottom line? It was fun. Maybe some would look at the videos and call it silly, or weird, or even stupid. But it was something that was special to us, and for a short time before we were forced to grow up, an outcast group of teenagers was able to feel important.
Check out some more of our videos here. They were originally filmed on VHS, so the quality is terrible, but it’s worth a look anyway, if you’re into that sort of thing.