As my tens of readers know, I haven’t written anything in a while. Chalk it up to long days at work, family responsibilities, and well, just pure laziness. Don’t judge! Giving irrelevant, borderline mediocre sports opinions can be a time-consuming and daunting task. Excuses aside, I recently felt that itch to write again. But about what? I needed the perfect story to get my creative juices flowing. Something interesting. Something compelling.
Today, I found that story.
Tuesday’s practice probably started off just like any other day at Falcons training camp. That is, until “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair strutted down that aisle and onto the field. That’s right, the WWE Hall of Famer himself visited Flowery Branch as a special guest of Julio Jones, and that is just plain awesome. According to ESPN, he was in vintage form, breaking down the team practice with his signature “Woo” and cutting a straight-up promo on Redskins cornerback Josh Norman:
“This is the ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair at Falcons training camp with my main man, my brother, Julio Jones, the greatest wide receiver in the NFL,” yelled Flair. “That’s right, Josh Norman: The best. Nobody catches up to Julio Jones. Wooooooo! Go Falcons.”
While it’s obvious that he was there to give the Falcons the extra motivation needed to take on Washington in their first preseason game on Thursday, I’d also like to think he imparted some wisdom and advice to the players as they inch closer to the regular season.
Flair might have taught some of the young players and rookies about teamwork. After all, he was the long-time leader of The Four Horsemen – the greatest wrestling faction of all-time. And let’s not forget when he worked with Triple H to recruit Randy Orton and Dave Bautista, forming the dominant stable of champions known as Evolution. Everyone could learn something from that kind of “team-first” mentality.
The older players may have also learned a thing or two from Flair. Some would ask what a professional wrestler could possibly teach a bunch of seasoned NFL vets. How about some lessons on career longevity? “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” endured numerous Bionic Elbows from Dusty Rhodes, Leg Drops from Hulk Hogan, vicious gang-style attacks at the hands of the nWo, and Sweet Chin Musics from Shawn Michaels, yet he still managed to have a wrestling career that spanned 40 years. I’m sure Matt Ryan took some notes on how to recover from a beating, especially after spending years behind the pre-Alex Mack turnstile of an offensive line.
Teamwork and career prolonging advice is great, but I imagine the most important lesson the legendary wrestler taught the Falcons is also the most obvious. How to be a champion. Ric Flair is a 16-time World Champion, and sure, those championships may have been in “fake” wrestling instead of football. But maybe there is more to it than meets the eye. Maybe knowing that a senior citizen found a way to win a few fake titles using the for-some-reason unbearably painful figure-four leg lock gave the Falcons some hope that anything – ANYTHING – is possible. Maybe it even helps them believe that they can obtain the championship that has evaded this franchise for so long. Maybe…
…Or maybe Flair was only there to throw around some “Woos” and have a few laughs. Who knows?
What I do know is that the team was thankful that Ric Flair was able to bring some fun to the grind of training camp. This Falcons fan is also thankful for Ric Flair. Why? Because that “Rolex wearin’, diamond ring wearin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, limousine ridin’, jet flyin’ son of a gun” gave me the material needed to write this ridiculous nonsense. WOO!