Ric Flair started wrestling in 1974. I was born in 1974. So, for as long as I have been alive and as long as I have been watching wrestling, Flair was always there.

Tonight, at Wrestlemania 24, Flair’s nearly 35 year career came to an end, when he was defeated by Shawn Michaels in the best match of the night, hands-down. At 59 years old, Flair once again proved himself twice the entertainer and athlete of wrestlers half his age.

The capacity crowd at George’s Sports Bar in West Ashley gave Flair a standing ovation. I just sat there speechless.

Wrestling has always been a big part of my life and my favorite form of escapism, and the idea that Flair – the greatest of all time and my all-time favorite – will never be in the ring again, is still something I can’t quite wrap my head around.

Regardless, I started watching wrestling and Flair in 1982. Here’s “the man” being the man, that year: