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Masking Reality

When stars align, life is, well, life is fabuloso.

And that’s how, while in LA for Lifeguard Championships, I also found myself shooting local Lucha Libre on a lazy Sunday evening.

And not only did Nolesy give me the heads up on that visual gem, but earlier over Sunday morning coffee, he casually mentioned that they were hosting American Ninja Warrior tryouts on Venice Beach.

Two SFDs™ on one day. Warm up the rental car.

The tryouts were held in an impromptu fun park, with several stations for different skill tests scattered along Venice Beach. The granddaddy of them all, a Ninja obstacle course, was in front of small grandstands and a modest crew of TV cameras.

I do wish they had those trying out dressed in ninja outfits. Nothing really imposing or impressive about cats in casual clothes. When I control the Weird Sports Universe, I’ll be sure there’s a proper dress code just for the photographers’ benefit.

And while it was not the wildest visual setting, it was well worth a quick drive to the beach. So much is happening in Venice, it’s hard to single out just the ninja tryouts.

The real fun started that evening when we arrived at a small, modest venue in East LA to catch some Mexican mayhem.

The Noles had been here on a recent Sunday and knew that it’d be a great way to end my visual sports junket to SoCal. We had so much laughter.

Like in Tijuana, lucha was all about the masks. Noles bought a stylish souvenir, one the kids repeatedly tried to pull off to reveal his true identity. Los niños, some people are better left masked. Just sayin‘…

Speaking of kids, I was happy that Gage brought his mom, Patricia, and Dale. Seeing Gage get used to his new badass alter ego was pretty cool.

What was really wonderful about this night was watching the kids at play during breaks in action. They owned the ring as parents watched without concern from their seats.

This was truly a family event. Toddlers in the front rows, grandmothers in the back. Everyone looked so at home. Something you’d never get with WWF.

I also loved the decor, with all the streamers on the ceiling. Felt like I was at a quirky quinceañera.

Some of the wrestlers had their baby-toting wives in attendance, taunting the wrestlers mercilessly. It was high-larious watching the women get in the men’s grills. One of the wrestlers repeated kissed this one woman, who tried to pretend she was mortified, when he was really her husband. Si, pro wrestlers are sneaky.

Thanks to Noles for providing a kick-ass double-header of fun(ny). He is the latest winner of my on-going contest. Si, providing me with photo ops is rewarding on many, many levels. Even cousin Eden profited from my spoils.

  • Thomas Boyd - August 18, 2010 - 5:04 pm

    That snap of the kids trying to rip the mask of Noles head is pure gold.


  • stepahen - September 21, 2010 - 12:52 am

    I really this serie, the old woman watching the fight remind me of my grand grand mother listening to wrestling on radio each friday night at 85 y.o.
    It is a passionate art, a bit like photo isn’t it?


  • […] she first mentioned community lucha libre, I had visions of my time with Noles in East LA. We had a blast, pure and […]


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