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My life changed the day I saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage on TV

I’ll never forget it: I was 6 years old flipping thru the channels on TV, when all of the sudden there he was. Larger than life, dressed in a crazy assortment of colors, and he was the Champ. He was going face to face with the Ultimate Warrior on this episode, and I was hooked.

I think I was destined to be an entertainer. From the time I could talk, I think I’ve been trying to get in front of people and make them feel. There’s video evidence of me preaching to my family when I was 3 or 4 years old. From a young age, I would get up in front of the church and sing songs to the delight of my pastor (Author’s nostalgic annotation: I think my first pastor, Bro. Fate Wilson, was my actual first best friend. Every week he would greet me at the door of the church with a big ole “bear hug”. He was a great man).

My mom always wanted to be a model, so maybe I got the entertainment gene from her. Regardless, it’s what I always wanted to do.

My family, however, felt (feel) differently.

I was a fairly smart kid. I started talking somewhere between 6-9 months. I knew how to spell “Zooashkiyani” by 3 (a feat my Aunt Mary still brags about). My family thought because I was bright for a child that I’d grow up to be a doctor or a scientist. They instilled that into my brain for as long as I could remember.

Then I saw Macho Man and everything changed

From that day on, I wanted to be a pro wrestler. Wrestling became my life. I wouldn’t go anywhere without my wrestling ring and figures. I’d come home from school and go straight to the figures where I had my own Figure Federation, complete with wins and loss records for each wrestler, a Top 10 rankings system, and a book of angles and storylines I wanted to do in the future. I would wrestle my Macho Man wrestling buddy for hours. I’d stand in the mirror and practice my interviews. Back then I was “Macho Kid” Derik Zoo and I was the Champ.

One day at school, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said, “pro wrestler” and everyone in the class, including the teacher, laughed. Didn’t bother me. I knew what I was destined to do.

As time went on, the wrestling dream turned into the broader entertainer dream. Sure, I’ve dabbled with pro wrestling from time to time (and probably will again soon foreshadowing) but being an actual wrestler in the ring has probably passed me by. Now I get to live my dream making hundreds of people feel everyday. That’s pretty cool.

Honestly, it might not have happened had I not seen Randy Savage on my TV screen that Saturday morning in 1992.

I wish I had the chance to tell Mach that. Sadly, Randy passed away ten years ago. I never got to see him in person, never had the opportunity to share my story with him.

Today is his birthday. While I wish he were here to read this story, I’m happy that his legacy will live forever. I’m sure there’s thousands of kids just like me who followed their dreams because of “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

What a cool legacy to have

Happy Birthday, Mach. Oooooh Yeah!

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