Brock University sociology prof steps into wrestling ring

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Brock University sociology prof steps into wrestling ring

Published on November 10 2009

A Brock sociology professor who teaches North America’s only undergraduate course about professional wrestling will step into the ring himself for the first time Sunday, Nov. 15.

Dan Glenday, 61, will wrestle at the Brock Brawl, a pro wrestling card being staged on campus and featuring wrestlers like Bloody Bill Skullion and the Kentucky Butcher.

Sunday’s event will not only be a pro wrestling spectacle, but an assignment for his students.

Glenday, who has been a Brock professor since 1979, has taught the popular course “The Sociology of Professional Wrestling” since 2006.

His course addresses what he calls the misunderstanding surrounding professional wrestling since it is an easy target for skeptics. The course description notes wrestling is criticized for its “excessive violence, sexism, homophobia, ethnic/racial stereotyping, date violence among teenagers and the increase in bullying by girls and boys”.

The course aims to better understand professional wrestling by situating it within changes in popular culture, while at the same time examining it as a major cultural phenomenon itself.

“When I first started to look at the cultural and social aspects of pro wrestling, the first thing I noticed was that there was very little written about it and that it was not, on the whole, taken very seriously,” says Glenday. “However when you take into account the sheer number of people in North America involved in and who watch wrestling, it deserves to be seriously studied and investigated further.

“Pro wrestling and wrestlers are a misunderstood subculture in our society.”

Glenday developed his course after returning from sabbatical in 2005-06. Personal experiences and mid-career unrest contributed to the new direction in his research and teaching.

“What I realized during my sabbatical was that I couldn’t continue with just the ‘same old, same old,’” says Glenday. “I can recall waking up early one morning and thinking to myself, this is what I wanted to do during the remaining years of my career.”

Shortly after starting to teach the course, Glenday started training to one day enter the ring himself.

“When I first started out, I was conducting lots of interviews with wrestlers, and I thought to myself, I should really try this out for myself. It was a real challenge at first for me, because I am not at all proficient in any sports and I have really weak ankles.”

Former pro wrestler Chuck “the Butcher” Simpson, a native of Wainfleet, Ont., who retired from pro wrestling in 1989, has been coaching Glenday.

Glenday will be part of a six-man tag-team match scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Glenday and Simpson are available for media interviews this week. It is also possible to set up advance interviews and photo ops of them training in a wrestling ring.

Brock Brawl
(Presented by Rough Wrestling International)
Sunday, Nov. 15
7 p.m. (start time); 6 p.m. (doors)
Isaac’s Bar & Grill
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ont.

Media contacts:

* Dan Glenday, Professor, Sociology, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x3456;
* Jeffrey Sinibaldi, media relations officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4687;
* Kevin Cavanagh, Associate Director, Communications and Public Affairs, 905-688-5550 x5888;

bloody bill skullion

Bloody Bill Skullion, "Canadian Redneck"