They sweat and bleed for my entertainment!
I was shocked going to bed just after hearing the tragic announcement that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson was taken from this world at just 38 years of age.
Who are celebrities to me?
I’m not a big celebrity guy. Some people will follow celebrities around. Others hunt for their autographs. Some will even fight for the opportunity to touch their shoulder!
And, of course, many spend an inordinate amount of time learning about the intricacies of their lives.
But usually I couldn’t care less.
Celebrities are just human folk who somehow ended up in the spotlight. They’re not better than you or me. In many cases, they are even much, much worse.
The Waiter and the Taxi Driver
But they do a job. And thus should be appreciated like anyone else who does a job well. When someone waits your table or drives your taxi with expertise and a friendly face, it impacts your day, makes you smile, and leaves you with a great feeling. It’s certainly reason enough to express your appreciation.
Thanking them for their excellent service is really nice. A sweet tip might be even better. A praising word to their superior takes things to the next level.
But repaying quality with kindness is standard.
And there’s no reason this shouldn’t apply to a celebrity as well. If someone’s amazing talent caused me to laugh and cry as I watched them on the big screen, I should tell the world about it. I sholud write an amazing review of the movie and that actor’s portrayal. And I should have a feeling in my heart that this person is something special, a fond recognition that they are really good at their craft.
Why wouldn’t I? It’s their job, it impacts my life, and they did it to perfection.
No, they are not gods. And I don’t feel a need to fawn over them in a restaurant or learn about what they eat for breakfast. I just appreciate what they do, much like I appreciate the person who gave me superb service at Home Depot.
So celebrity deaths have always been a confusing phenomenon for me.
On one hand, it’s just a regular person who passed away. People die every day, and if I felt sadness for all of them, I wouldn’t be able to live my life. Even if I saw a show they were in or enjoyed one of their songs, doesn’t mean feelings well up inside me.
They didn’t know me. Our lives didn’t cross paths. We didn’t exchange thoughts over a cold beer or embrace with joy when my son was born.
They’re just regular people I don’t know.
Petty and Williams
There have been exceptions over the years. I was definitely saddened to learn I would never enjoy the comedy of Norm Macdonald again. He was certainly something extremely special.
And I was filled with a deep sense of sadness at the passing of Tom Petty and, of course, Robin Williams. I remember learning about the latter’s death and then telling my kids all about him. We ended up watching Mrs. Doubtfire together.
I don’t really know when a celerbrity’s passing is something that makes me frown and then just continue on with my day, and when I will feel like I need to actually mourn the loss.
I guess sometimes it simply hits me somewhere. My appreciation for their art is so strong, I almost feel like I have a connection to them. And when death pulls me away from that connection, it hurts in a much deeper way.
But something’s different with UFC fighters.
UFC Fighters are Different
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson was not my favrorite fighter. Don’t get me wrong. He was very good. And I enjoyed watching many of his fights, and enjoyed seeing him outside the fighting world as well.
But it doesn’t really matter how good he was, how many fights of his I saw, or whether or not I appreciated his fighting style or personality.
I spent my whole life not a sports fan. That is, until I finally found a sport I liked. And once I did, I immersed myself. I used to go to the sports bars in KC every Saturday night to watch the fights. It was a huge part of my life, one that I miss so much.
And the countless hours of entertainment these people gave me is on a whole different level.
These athletes literally gave everything of themselves to entertain me. I watched them bleed, get choked out, suffer likely head traumas, and snap bones, all so I could get excited watching everything from a cozy bar chair, icecold beer in hand.
Many people work hard. The waitress who served me said beer did her job well. She was rewarded with a nice tip. And I’m sure if I found out my waitress died an untimely death, I’d find it sad. But I’d then move on with my day. Yes, she worked hard. Just like I work hard every single day. But I don’t expect any of my customers to attend my funeral or shed a tear. I’m just the guy who typed a bunch of words so they could get their email question answered quickly. Their lives move on without me, and the service I performed disappeared the moment we stopped writing.
RIP: Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson
But Anthony Johnson bled for me.
He spent months in a training camp tormenting himself, and starving himself, all in preparation for a high-pressure, fast-paced, slugfest with his health and well-being on the line. And win, lose, or draw, the evening was always a spectacular one for me.
So, I’m sad.
No, I’m not bawling in a corner. And I’ll go on with my day, doing my thing like any other day.
But my appreciation is there. And it’s great.
And when someone who gave me this much enjoyment leaves the world, they took a part of me with them.
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, thanks for the memories. Thanks for the insanely hard punches. Thank you for putting everything on the line just so my Saturday nights would be awesome.
You will be sorely missed.Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson, thanks for the memories. Thanks for the insanely hard punches. Thank you for putting everything on the line just so my Saturday nights would be awesome. Click To Tweet