Wrestling with Quarantine: Thryllin’ Thoughts

Wrestling with Quarantine. A few nights ago, I dreamt about a wrestling ring in an empty building with no one around. Before the pandemic, sometimes I’d think about sequences, countermoves, and promos at night. I know a lot of wrestlers do that. But lately, trying to do that has been tough.

The last event I wrestled at was three days before our government put into effect restrictions on public gathering. I do believe the restrictions are important and need to be enforced. But now we’re all wrestling with quarantine.

Wrestling with Quarantine
Thryllin’ Dylan on March 13, three days before a ban on public events was placed in effect.

Estimates on how long restrictions on public gatherings will last range from end of June, to sometime in September, all the way until next year. What does this mean for wrestling?

Back to that dream. There was a wrestling ring in a dark, empty building – no chairs, just the ring. As I stared at the ring, there was a feeling that’s hard to place. But I looked at the ring and I walked out. Then a stranger outside began talking to me. He said, “Can you believe we have to live like this for the next two years?” This was just a simple dream. But it shows the frustration in my head.

Over the years, there’s been a consistent mental approach I’ve taken to wrestling. My brain is always preparing for the next match. But right now, there is no next match. And not just for me, but for most of the wrestling industry.

It sucks not knowing how long this will last. It sucks not knowing how the world will be different once the virus is defeated.

Wrestling with Quarantine

Among the many real and large-scale fears I’ve had with this pandemic, is another small-scale, but significant fear: was my last match, my LAST match? And I know I’m not the only one. WWE’s Drake Maverick posted an emotional video where he seems to imply that his wrestling days are about to be behind him.

I’m 37 years old. I have been wrestling since I was 18. I’ve thought about stepping away from the ring before. But this is obviously a bit different.

This is just a cold, hard stop. It has felt like running full speed into a brick wall.

Wrestling has always been in my life. Whether I was a kid playing in my room with my wrestling figures, a young teen watching wrestling on TV, or a rebellious high schooler working for an indy wrestling company, this industry always gave me that escape. And as an adult, there is nothing else like being in that ring.

But it’s more than just being in the ring, it’s the emotion that comes with it. It’s those few minutes before the match when my brain begins switching over from regular human to Thryllin’ Dylan. It’s the moment that curtain flies open and I see the crowd. It’s hearing the ref count “Three!” at the end of a great match. It’s even how I’d watch wrestling from all eras and territories with excitement to see techniques, spots and tricks to use in my next match.

These experiences are linked to emotion. And those emotions are tied to identity.

As I stared at the ring in my dream, there was a feeling that I said was tough to describe. That feeling can only be described as a void. As I stared at the ring, there was an absence of all the emotion that comes with being in the ring, in front of a crowd, and battling an opponent.

Who knows, though? Maybe things will be back to normal sooner than I think. But for now the only opponent to battle – the only thing I’ll be wrestling – is quarantine.

Check out past edition of Thryllin Thoughts here.