Wrestling. I have to admit, I don’t quite get it. But the babes are OBSESSED. I blame their Auntie Rachel (yes, you Rachel) as I think it was at her house they first discovered WWE.
Ezra and Jed own about 12 wrestling figures each now, as well as WWE 2K14 and 2K15 video games. Last Christmas, I bought them a Wrestlemania compilation that my niece referred to as ‘a nice collection of violence’. Whatever bakes their cakes, eh?
Well, you can imagine their excitement when I informed them we were going to meet WWE superstar Jack Swagger: starry eyes, shouting, fist bumps, head locks… the works.
Now I’ve had many random experiences while blogging — from having my feet nibbled by fish for a pedicure, to scaling the roof of the O2. Sitting in the Roald Dahl museum watching Jack Swagger read a passage from The Twits scores high on the random-o-metre. But it was rather sweet too.
The babes were in their element and Swagger was good with the kids. When he saw me trying to take a selfie, he snapped it himself.
Swagger was in town for a WWE promotion and apparently it was all his idea to come to the museum (he loves Roald Dahl) and share his passion for books with a select group of kids.
Wrestlemania Reading Challenge is the WWE’s youth literacy campaign that allows their bulked up stars to give back to some of their biggest fans (they have a massive under 12 audience). It’s a great way to impress the kids that, even for wrestlers, there’s more to life than smackdowns and attitude adjustments. What really matters is the muscle in your mind.
Jack spoke engagingly and answered questions on stuff like his favourite Roald Dahl books, and whether he had read anything on the flight over (‘I slept the whole way’, he admitted).
Some Swagger nuggets:-
‘When you pick up a book, you pick up a ticket to another world.’
On why he loves Dahl
‘His whizz-popping adjectives create a world with no rules.’
On why he chose The Twits
‘I picked a character like me, he’s big, he’s stinky and he always has food in his beard!’
On the character who inspires him
‘Sophie from the BFG because no matter how small you are, you can achieve anything.’
On why sporty types still need to study
‘The smarter you are, the faster you pick up on sports which is always changing, you always have to learn more to do better as an athlete.’
The pretty village of Great Missenden is just 40 minutes by train from Marylebone and the Roald Dahl Museum is certainly worth a day trip.
At the museum, you can nibble on a wall of Wonka chocolate (not real, sadly), nosey around Dahl’s writing hut, and read excerpts from his notebooks.
The whole place is filled with so much to stimulate the imagination, from an entire room dedicated to story-making, to writerly advice dotted around the venue.
My favourite quote comes from Dahl himself who wrote from 10am to 12pm daily for 45 years:
‘You have to keep your bottom on the chair and stick it out.’
Thanks to WWE and Roald Dahl Museum for the event and the goody bags, the boys couldn’t wait to slip into their XXL wrestling t-shirts! They’re really looking forward to catching a live event soon.