like: Arm Wrestling. Maybe it’s because Coronavirus has disrupted viewing opps for millions, and stations like ESPN have been resorting to new programming; maybe it’s because I am newly insomniac, but whenever I turned on the TV this summer, there it was: this sweaty, grippy, primitive duet of the flesh. Naturally, then, I started to watch with insatiable interest. For starters, the ritual of the thing is fascinating. Two people with nation-feeding biceps square off, and between them is a ref who tries to get the guys to hold hands nicely. If they can’t establish a good, fair grip within 30 seconds (watch for the minute adjustments, those tender prongs) the ref straps their hands together. This is the part I find most compelling. The strapped hands. The hooked thumbs. Of course it’s sexy in a BDSM kind of way, but really it’s more about the bondage of the physical. This gross flesh pressed into the service of esteem and bragging rights. There is, too, the history of the handshake scaffolded onto the sport and the awkward timing of it all—the strap outlasting the match so that even after one person has won, he (or she) is still lashed to his opponent. It’s a little bit like the pile of ass after a play’s been completed in football—those seconds when opposing teams disengage one body at a time. Except in arm wrestling, there’s the artificial, mediating force of the strap to contend with.
For whatever reason, RobVigeant Jr. always seems to be wrestling whenever I tune in.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Look at that sweet face.
Rob is incredibly stoic before and even during his matches. It’s not so much game face as maybe just his real face. He’s sleepy. Chill. Except if he wins, at which point he’s all animal. For instance:
I love Rob. He’s got four kids. His motto is: “I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” I can’t conceptualize a universe in which a motto like this would ever occur to me.
It’s too bad the sport has adopted the trappings of WWF—the chesty girls and campy prizes (the champ gets to brandish a Thor-like hammer)—because there really is something elemental to all this that gets lost in the fanfare.
But anyway. I guess I could talk a bit about CORNHOLE—I get that one girl’s Cornhole is another girl’s Curling, but still, how is CORNHOLE getting televised?—but I think I’ll spare you the innuendo. Because no way is this twelve-year-old boy gonna let any of that slide.
Until next time—
PS. I just noticed there are buttons I can embed at my discretion. Fun. I love a button. And more readers.