Monday, January 1, 2018


Despite the online trend of treating 2017 like it was a shit-storm—although, to be fair, it really was—my 2017 wasn’t all that bad, as I suspect many people’s wasn’t either.  Sure, I’ve never had more political anxiety, but on a personal and professional level, I think that it was a good year of growth. 
When the year began, I had almost crippling anxiety.  There were moments, often times when driving, that my heart would race, my palms would break out in a cold sweat, my vision would blur and I would start to hyperventilate.  The slightest provocation would make me feel like I was about to die.  To this day, I’m not sure what triggered it exactly. Maybe it was that in 2016 I became a father and I was feeling some of the effects of that that I wasn’t dealing with on a conscious level. Maybe it was my pre-workout paired with other sources of caffeine and/or alcohol in the same day (not at the same time!).  More than likely it was a combination of both.  So, as the year broke in and I tried to get a grip on my mind, my workouts, my relationships, and my happiness all suffered a bit, but I trudged along determined to beat it.   I’ve dealt with similar anxiety attacks in the past and I was able to overcome them, so I thought, I could probably do the same. A more prudent choice would have been to go to a counselor, but I didn’t do that.  As the year progressed, I managed to get a grip on it and took measures to rectify the situation.  I’m happy to report that a year later, I am for the most part, back to normal.  There will still be slight anxiousness about getting into certain situations, like driving on the highway.  Funny as it sounds though, its like having anxiety about getting anxiety. It’s not nearly as severe, though.   
This same year, I changed my wrestling persona.  Though, I had gone under the moniker of “Spartan” for the past 5-6 years, I felt that the name was not reflective of who I wanted to be in the ring, and that it was stifling me creatively.  So, I changed my name to RMZ Prime.  I wanted there to be more of me in the name. RMZ is short for Ramirez and Prime is simply the first.  I’m the first Ramirez of my family to become a wrestler and thus the gimmick was born.  2017 allowed me to find myself in the ring and it really was a year when a lot of things “clicked.”  I invested in myself more and took opportunities to make it to seminars by RBG and Jake the Snake Roberts.   2017 also see another injury: a concussion on a accidental kick during a match.  It made me reevaluate what I wanted to do in this business, what risks I was willing to take and how far I wanted to go with it.  It definitely put things into perspective. After all, I have a daughter that I need to look after now and she must be, and Is, my number one priority in life.  I also acquired my own ring. Well, its not technically mine, but it is in my backyard and I started to have training sessions for some of the guys.  Soon after, Dylon brought over so kids who wanted to be trained and after some deliberation and soul searching I decided to take them on as a training class and my first students in the business. This was not a decision that I took lightly. I struggled with the fact that I have not made an impact in this business. I haven’t had over 10 years experience and I haven’t made it to the big stage—aside from the extra work that one year.  But I am a teacher and a personal trainer, and I am pretty decent in the ring. Plus, if I didn’t train them then Laredo would just have three more untrained kids wrestling with no guidance in this business and the cycle of shitty wrestlers in this city would continue. So, despite most recommendations, I took them on.   As of this writing, they have been training with me for three months and have made leaps and bounds of improvements since.  It also made me consider opening up my own wrestling school eventually.  Again, yes, I know I’m not anyone in this business but I think I can provide a service to the Laredo wrestling scene that is sorely needed.  These kids will be wrestling soon and they’ll be miles ahead of me when I started out.  I expect good things from them.
In the teaching world,  I was lucky to get an amazing group of students in the Spring of 2017 to mitigate the damage that the Fall of 2016 did to my love of teaching.  This was an exceptional group of kids that I’ll never forget.  I also applied to be department head, and while I didn’t get the position, it did put me in the sights of my principal as someone who is capable of a leadership position.  The Fall of 2017 hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t been terrible either and I am hopeful for decent STAAR Scores. I hope that the trend continues and that 2018 brings great students once again.
Finally, there’s the real big deal. My personal life.  This past year was a year where I learned a great deal about myself as a person and more importantly as a father. I have learned how to maintain a relationship and how to play the role of father, I think, fairly competently. There is nothing more that I enjoy than seeing my baby girl enjoying her time with me and it melts my heart every time I see her face light up when she sees me or when she grabs my hand to go have a tea party.  2017 also became the year that Amber and I became homeowners and solidified our house as the “get-together” house for my family and a lot of friends.  In the 8 months or so that we’ve been here we have already made countless memories like Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and almost setting the house on fire,  to writing letters to the Santa a week before Christmas.  I think that being at our house brings a lot of joy to the people of my family and that’s honestly all I could ask for.  Amber has really been fantastic this year as well—as she is every year.  She’s my rock and has put up with my grouchiness when I’m hungry and my inability to stay put for too long of a time and has become one of my road partners when it comes to wrestling. In fact, there’s so many trips that I wouldn’t have been able to make if she hadn’t been around. She continues to be my number one supporter and fan and she’s never afraid to tell me the truth about a match and I appreciate her even more for that. She is wonderful mother to our daughter and a soul so generous that it’s hard to believe.  If you read this babe, I love you and I couldn’t imagine my life without you.
And now on to 2018.   New Year, New me! Kidding. I’m not that unoriginal, nor am I totally unsatisfied with myself that I feel a need to become a new person.  But , as in anything, there is always room for improvement so I’ll just layout some things that I will accomplish in 2018.   Let’s start small. I will get my wisdom teeth removed as they are really starting to cram my teeth and I cannot and will not have a jacked up smile. I mean, I know I love the Brits, but I don’t want to look like a bad stereotype.  Second,  I will get corrective eye surgery this year.  Seriously, though. It’s time. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in 2nd grade (about 24 years) and contact lenses since 8th grade (about 17 years) and frankly, I’m just tired of it.  My doctor says I’m the perfect candidate for it so I plan to move forward with it in the coming months.  Next, I will finish my thesis in the spring.  Even though I’ve said this before, Dr. Duffy told me I have until Spring or I have to retake a ton of stuff over so, this is really it.  Luckily, deadlines are precisely what I need in order to work efficiently so I am confident that this will pan out and I will finally walk down that aisle and obtain my Master’s degree.  As far as wrestling is concerned, I want to be back in LWA and win their championship. I want to be back home and part of an organization that is growing and is homegrown. I have lost desire of running my own promotion, though I may run a show here and there for my trainees.   Ah yes, my training. I think I’ll keep training people. I think I’ll determine this once my kids graduate from my training program but it’s something that I love doing and I think I want to provide this service to the city.  I think I’ll keep my class sizes to 4. Make it simple.  I also want to work out of state a few times, though not make it a habit, after all I do have a family.
Which brings e to my personal life, I just want to be a better father and definitely be a better partner for Amber. I know I can be a little selfish at times, though I don’t mean to be, and I want to work to rectify that as well.  I will also strive to be a more present godfather to my goddaughters.   My god parents were like a second family to me and I want my god children to feel the same.  Maybe, my family will grow a little bit too….although, that may only be by getting another dog. Having my sister’s dog here has made me realize that having a third one won’t be as miserable as I thought, but I’ll still have to think about it.     I also want to start writing more for fun. I know I always say this and its hard to find time to write, but I was doing well when my friends and I started that workshop, but once everyone else stopped writing I found no real reason to continue.  I also want to improve my physique. I think I kind of let myself go last year with the eating and drinking and I need to reel it back in.  I want some semblance of abs by Jan 30th and some decent abs by Spring Break.  I don’t need to have a six pack all the time,  I enjoy cheat meals too much for that shit, but I do want to have more definition than I do know.   Lastly, I want to improve my home gym even more. For me, for Amber, and for the kids who train here.  So, I will, as Captain Picard would say “Make it so.”
If you’ve read this far, then I hope you enjoyed this and you’re probably my sister, Amber, or someone who is really bored. Either way, thanks and Happy New Year!  May your hopes, wishes,  and resolutions come to fruition and may 2018 be a better year than 2017 was. 

Friday, September 11, 2015


It’s been 14 years since the 9/11 attacks. A whole world changed on one Tuesday morning.  It’s easy, nowadays, to lose sight of what the attacks meant.  It’s easy to argue over semantics, over who caused it, what was the motives, was it a conspiracy, was it an inside job, could jet fuel melt the steel, etc, but  in doing so, and in arguing and placing blame—well deserved blame, I might add—we mustn’t lose sight of the way that we felt that day.  We mustn’t get so caught up in pointing fingers, and repeating empty phrases that we forget the magnitude of the tragedy that occurred on that morning.
On September 11, 2001, I was a sophomore at Nixon High School.  I, like everyone else who was of a cognizant age, vividly recall that morning: the air, the mood, the somberness.   I remember getting to school in typical Luis fashion: late.   I remember getting dressed in a hurry, and hearing something on the news, but not paying attention to it. On the drive, I was listening to a CD so I didn’t hear the radio news.  It wasn’t until I was in Ms. Scaggs room for BCIS that I, that we, saw the news.   I don’t remember if there was an announcement or if another teacher came into the room, but we were alerted to turn on the TV.  On the screen we saw what everyone else saw. We saw the crashes, we saw the towers ablaze, we saw the towers fall.
For what seemed like an eternity an entire high school was silent: awestruck.  Nobody could grasp the immensity of the matter. We knew that there were countless deaths , that countless more deaths were to follow, we knew—we felt—that things wouldn’t be the same when we woke up. I worried about my then-brother-in-law Achim who worked in the world trade complex (but not in one of those buildings) and I worried about my sister—his wife.   I remember stepping out of Mrs. Scaggs room, no instruction given, no work done. It didn’t matter for that day.  I remember walking across the Nixon courtyard crossing from one building to the next.  I remember “Proud to be an American” playing on the speakers as thousands of teenagers changed classrooms in practical silence.  I remember the ominous mood that loomed over our lives, over our existence. I remember feeling like I was in a movie, like this was the introduction to the main conflict that Bruce Willis or Will Smith would sort out within the span of 90minutes. I remember knowing that that hero would never come.
It’s been 14 years since the 9/11 attacks. Our post-9/11 world is a stark contrast of the world before. For the better? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But while you do, don’t forget the fallen, don’t forget day, but mostly don’t forget how it felt.

Monday, July 27, 2015


It trickled down my face and off my nose. That always made me slightly smirk as it tickled my nostrils on the way down.  There's always something special about feeling that first drop. It's almost as if the sky is giving you a personal invitation to experience what inevitably lies ahead.  The skies parted and drops of rain began to fall. Plop, plop, PLOP! they went all around me--precursors of what's to come.  Then the gushing torrents began. The wind began to pick up speed and my hair began to fly in its wake.  Thunder crackled and lightning flashed in the grey marble sky while small branches started to surrender to the wind and rain.  I stood in my yard soaking it all up. I felt a drop trickle down my face and off my nose.  I smirked.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tia Cuca

Fourth of July can mean a lot of things. It can mean our nation's independence, it can mean hot dogs, beer, swimming and bar b q's and it can mean fireworks. But, to me, above all else, it will always mean my Tia Cuca's birthday.

Now, don't get me wrong, upon instinct, if someone says "the fourth of July" I'm naturally inclined to think "independence day".  But, part of me still thinks otherwise. There's a part of me that ignores the trivial blind patriotism, the fireworks and the bbq's and reflects on an older time.     A part of me always thinks back to my Tia Cuca and my Tio Pablo, both huge parts of my growing up.  

Now, when most people say "growing up" they mean getting older in age. Growing up, to me, in this instance, is much different.  When I state that Tia Cuca and Tio Pablo helped me grow up  I mean that they helped me become the person I am today. They helped shaped my ideals, my habits, my sense of right and wrong. They helped shaped what I believed a person should be.

Growing up, Tia Cuca wasn't at first, my favorite aunt--as a matter of fact, she wasn't technically my aunt. She was my dad's aunt. So, she was my great-aunt.  We would always visit Tio Pablo and Tia Cuca at her house close by Nixon.  We'd visit her perfectly arranged living room, take drinks from her spotless kitchen, and play in the clutter free back yard.   Yes, Tia Cuca was a no-nonsense kind of woman.   She had expectations of us as children and we better meet them if we were at her house or she was going to let us know about it.  Now, that isn't to say that she was mean to us by any means.   That's the thing about Tia Cuca she was always so pleasant, even at times when she was at her sternest and she'd be lecturing me, she was never scary. She never raised her voice. Never yelled at us.

I remember Tia Cuca for many reason, that I'll go into in detail in a bit. But the main thing I remember her for, aside from being a loving human being, was the discipline that she instilled in me as a child.   There were many times when I was acting like a brat and Tia Cuca would pull me aside and talk to me like an adult and explain why what I was doing was wrong and how I should act to make my mom and dad's life easier and to be a better person.   It is for this that I am eternally grateful for. She taught me patience and respect and  these are lessons that I still carry with me to this day.   TBC

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nuevo Laredo

     It's been two years since I've ventured into Nuevo Laredo.  Even at that the last visit was prompted only because one of my dearest and most beloved relatives, mi Tia Eva, had been hospitalized and was going to get surgery.  But prior to that and for the two years after that day, Mexico was essentially off limits.
     The stories of cartel violence, murder, and extortion were enough to drive even the most staunch of Nuevo Laredoans to cross the border to a safer place--those that could afford it that is.   The rest of the city, those that refuse to leave or that couldn't leave for legal or financial issued were forced to cope with a culture of violence, fear and constant militant presence.   The corruption and fear instilled in the people of the government and law enforcement made it difficult to trust those who were not close to you and--for an outsider--left a terrifying mystique around a city whose culture use to by synonymous with our own.   The once vibrant and lucid sister city to Laredo, Texas was always boastful of its rich culture, its superb nightlife and tourism, its customs and traditions, it's outgoing and entrepreneurial people, and its excellent, excellent food.  It's American counterpart had always been somewhat lacking in all of those areas leaning towards commercialism and the American way.    But now, Nuevo Laredo stood as a shadow of its former self.  The jovial ambiance replaced with despondency, fear and worry.  The busy hustling and bustling replaced with quick shuffles in and out of shops never before sunset.
     For a long time, it seemed that things would not be getting any time soon. There were times when even my students that hailed from Mexico would not want to cross the border in fear of their own home town. Things looked pretty dim.  
     Flash forward two years and two months to the present day.   When my sister told me about her intention of going to Nuevo Laredo to get a dental procedure I must admit that I was more worried than I would admit to myself. When she said my mom was going and invited me along I couldn't pass up the chance to spend some time with my family in a city and area where I had so many found memories of just across the Rio Grande.  It being summer and having a free schedule I decided to tag along.  
     We left early in the morning---well, early in the morning for my sister and I--dropped off my niece at daycare and went to my mom's house.  My mom was going to drive us in her car.  This also marked the first time in more than two years that we had actually ventured by car across--the limited times we had scurried across the border were on foot and were quick excursions.  
     As we crossed the border into Mexico we took in the familiar sights:  the white structure where the Mexican government inspects vehicles, the Casa de cambio, the soldiers with their automatic weapons and camo ready to go at a moments notice.  These things had been seen a hundred times before and were nothing different and nothing out of the ordinary.   What was different about today, and I might be idealizing this a bit, is the ambiance and the feel of the city.  As we depart the first road into Mexico and turn onto Guerrero street it seemed like the Nuevo Laredo of old.  People of all ages and sizes busily walked in and out of shops, buying elotes, tacos, aguas, sodas,  crossing the street without looking in any direction, the big bulky, noisy buses trammed along like amusement park rides.  The atmosphere was relaxed.  The soldiers that previously occupied every corner of the downtown area were not there. Sure, there were some soldiers,  but their appearance was hardly noticeable.  The police state of Nuevo Laredo has significantly been decreased.   As I kept looking around we see plenty of cars with both American and Mexican license plates driving like maniacs up and down the main roads in downtown.  We like so many others scoured the curbs for open parking spaces, a helpful guide always willing to help us find a spot, reverse, and take care of our care in the hopes of getting a few pesos as compensation when we left.  
     My sister's dental procedure went by remarkably fast and we were on our way to the shops soon after.  My mom, my sister, and I drove and walked down the very streets where I would walk in as a child, my hand in my mom's or dad's. We wandered past shops that have been there for years, decades even before I was even born.   We even made a few purchases.  
   Soon after the shops, we stopped by La Siberia, a Nuevo Laredo staple and a family favorite.  The menu is limited: tostadas, tacos, or caldo.   That's it. Three items, few variations, all delicious.   In a throwback to my youth, I ordered a tostada and a Joya de manzana. My mom ordered the same and my sister ordered a soup--poor soul, I know she really wanted a tostada but she did just have dental surgery.   We sat there. We ate. We laughed. We reminisced.   We watched the lunch rush come in and quickly fill out the place.
     On the way back to the car, we stumbled across a nieve de barril and I had to get one of the famous nieve de limon. My sister and I agreed to share and we made our purchase and like when we were younger, followed our mom back to her car.
    As we made our way back to the bridge, turning and weaving across long forlorn but familiar streets I couldn't help but smile.  These streets with their pinata shops, and fruit stands, and photography studios, it's beggars and it's salesman, the tourists and the locals all seemed normal again.  This looked and felt like the Nuevo Laredo of old. And while things aren't exactly as they were, things are getting back to what they should be.  Nuevo Laredo appears to me, from this short visit, but be recovering, it's people getting back into the groove of a new-old 'normal'.  Whatever the cause, I hope it's true and I hope it lasts.  Nuevo Laredo deserves it's second chance. Nuevo Laredo deserves its renaissance.