This lovely note came a while back from Bill Apter, he of the “Apter mag” fame and one of the best, most-important pro wrestling journalists in history. (Incidentally, he hates the Apter mag label.)
I’ve had the privilege of editing Bill’s book, which will be published by ECW Press in the fall of 2015.
It’s called, Is Wrestling Fixed… I Didn’t Even Know It Was Broken, and it’s really something, taking you all over his life: growing up a wrestling fan, getting into the business, photography, writing, his love of classic comedy (note the Laurel & Hardy letterhead), karaoke, Japan, his family, boxing.
Like Bill, it’s all over the place, bubbling with enthusiasm, and never dull.
I first met Bill at WrestleMania in Philadelphia back in, yikes, 1999. In 2003, we did a chat session on SLAM! Wrestling, and that’s when the friendship really started. That winter, my wife and I met Bill for breakfast outside Philadelphia, fought over a title belt (a great Christmas card that year), and worked on convincing Bill to write his autobiography.
Note that was 11 years ago.
He finally got serious about it a couple of years back, and my wife and I, along with our son, visited Bill at his home outside Philly, and furthered the plan, and brought back a whack of photos to be scanned. At this point, I’d hooked him up with ECW Press as a publisher.
Again, Bill being Bill, it took a little longer than anticipated, with a variety of real-life issues complicating things, like a tree falling into his home, his daughter’s wedding, and a couple of health scares.
In his thank you note, he thanks me for “coaching.”
That’s the perfect word to describe my relationship not just with him, but also most of my SLAM! Wrestling staff.
For those who don’t know, my brother, Chris, is the head coach of the Windsor Lancers men’s basketball team, currently ranked #5 in Canada. He is the “pro” coach in the family, having gone on to do all the coaching levels you can, and put decades into it.
Me, I love coaching too, and have coached youth soccer in Toronto’s west end for 20 years now. It’s definitely different now that my son has been playing too — he’s eight.
With my SLAM! Wrestling staff, I feel like a coach as well, assigning roles / stories, cajoling pieces, encouraging, offering advice, interceding when necessary, for good and for bad. There’s a great joy when my “crew” succeeds in other ways too, whether it’s getting married, having kids, or finding a “real” job.
This isn’t the end of my coaching days by any means. Some people are cut out for it, and some aren’t.
And if “Wonderful Willie” says that I’m good at it, I must be.
Can’t wait to show you all Bill’s book this fall!