Last week I was in Atlanta for a legal marketing conference, which was great. I attended the conference all three days, including numerous panels and networking activities. I also made time before and after the conference to enjoy myself, including a KISS concert, working out at the DPP Yoga Performance Center, and staying at Diamond Dallas Page’s Accountability Crib. Best of all, Jake “The Snake” Roberts was my roommate.
Purely by chance, I found out that KISS was performing the night I arrived in Atlanta. Thankfully, I was able to work it out so I could attend the show and meet the band for a photo opp prior to KISS hitting the stage. My seat was in the last row (center), which is much farther back than the seats I had in Philly. However, I found this bird’s-eye view to be spectacular. KISS has an incredible stage show for its “End of the Road” tour and seeing it from a distance allowed me to take everything in at once. I also made it a point not to take photos or record video, beyond the one shot I took before the show. I wanted to be in-the-moment so I could enjoy every minute of it, and I did. I also got to see a couple friends backstage before the concert and left with a handful of guitar picks. All in all, it was a great start to my trip.During this trip I stayed at The Accountability Crib, a house made famous by The Resurrection of Jake the Snake documentary because it’s where the film was shot, and it’s the same place where Diamond Dallas Page helped Jake Roberts and Scott Hall overcome their drug and alcohol problems. Prior to going to the concert, I was having a conversation with Kay, the live-in host and Dallas’ mother-in-law. She’s a delightful person and we regularly had long discussions about myriad topics. During our first talk in the living room, she motioned to the window and said, “Oh, Jake must be home early.” I looked through the window and saw Jake “The Snake” Roberts approaching the back door. I looked back at Kay and said, “Jake is living here?!” She said, “He’s home for a few days before he has to hit the road again.” As he sauntered in, I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “Hey, Jake! I don’t know if you remember me but I’m Michael Cavacini. We met at your one-man show in Philly a few months back.” He said, “Nice to meet you, Mike. I don’t remember what I ate last night, let alone who I met a few months ago.” We both chuckled, and he brought his bags upstairs to his room. Over the course of the next few days, Jake and I got to know each other much better. We watched Star Trek, Law & Order, and Nash Bridges together, accompanied by Jake’s comedic commentary. One day Jake said to me, “Hey, are you planning to staying in for dinner?” I said, “Sure, how about you?” Jake replied, “Yeah. How about I make us some dinner?” I had a DDP Yoga class scheduled for that evening but I canceled it because it’s not every day that a WWE Hall of Famer asks if he can cook dinner for me. Jake said, “I’ll make us steaks, corn on the cob, and squash.” I replied, “Sounds great!” Jake and I ate the meal together later that evening and it was wonderful. Not only was the food excellent, the company was even better. It was wild to be bonding and breaking bread with someone I grew up watching on TV as a child, and it’s a memory I’ll look back on and smile when I think of it for years to come.The next day, after the legal marketing conference, I visited the DDP Yoga Performance Center for my first workout, which was with Christina Russell. It was called “Sweatin’ and Swearin'” and it was a tough one. Christina was doing moves I hadn’t learned yet but I went ahead and tried to do everything on the fly. If couldn’t do something perfectly, I modified the position to suit my needs. Even though I was a newbie, I had my mat right up front. I wanted to have a clear shot of everything, including my calories, of which I burned 610 by the time the workout was through. Throughout the week, I attended a total of seven DDP Yoga classes at the Performance Center so I could try out all of the different routines and instructors. They were all highly enjoyable and I wound up burning more than 4,000 calories, which is a new record for me. I even got to do DDP Yoga on the stage made famous in the DDP Yoga Now app and the DDP Yoga DVDs, striking poses alongside Garrett Sakahara, one of the most popular DDP Yoga instructors. Of course, I made sure to wear the #TeamRedHeadband red headband he sent me a few months prior.
The DDP Yoga Performance Center is a special place and I’m thrilled I got the chance to go there. Doing so enabled me to push myself harder than ever before, meet some great instructors, and spend time with new friends who are equally passionate about DDP Yoga and living life at 90%. The facility itself is beautiful, the staff and instructors are terrific, and the classes have a great energy to them. I always looked forward to going there and felt better after every class.
Diamond Dallas Page, who I’m proud to call my friend, returned from WrestleMania weekend with his wife, Brenda, and, later in the week, he stopped by The Crib with Anthony Ogogo, a 30-year-old former boxer who had to retire because of eye injuries. Anthony mentioned to me how he’s looking to break into professional wrestling and how Dallas was showing him a few moves at his house earlier that day. Dallas said that Anthony was going to meet Cody Rhodes, executive vice president of All Elite Wrestling, an up-and-coming professional wrestling promotion. Then Jake came down the steps and all three of them were talking about what it takes to make it in pro wrestling. It was a fascinating discussion so I kept my mouth shut and just listened in. Prior to Jake’s arrival, Dallas and I chatted about a variety of topics including what brought me to Atlanta, the first time we met (in 2012 at Wizard World in Philadelphia), how my experiences had been thus far at The Crib, and more. Dallas also graciously autographed the base of a limited edition sculpture I have of him. Only 5,000 were ever made and mine is number 166. I then took photos with Dallas, Dallas and Jake, and Anthony. Before I took the photo with Jake and Dallas, Jake jokingly said to me, “I’ll take the photo as long as you don’t grab my ass.” I laughed and replied, “Jake, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to resist” and all three of us laughed. It’s also worth noting that Jake and Dallas talked about Jake’s upcoming one-man show appearances, movies he’s shooting in China and Bosnia, and other business opportunities. It was fascinating to observe this behind-the-scenes discussion that most people never get a chance to see or hear.Throughout the week, I watched WrestleMania 35 in the living room on the big-screen TV. I also re-watched The Resurrection of Jake the Snake once Jake hit the road. How could I not watch this famous film in the house where it was shot? Doing so made the already emotional movie even more profoundly moving. As the final credits rolled, I was overcome with a wave of feelings including joy for the second chance at life Jake received, and gratitude for the brief time I got to spend with him that week. It gave me a new appreciation for the movie, Jake, Dallas, and this unique experience I was having.
One night, Garrett came to The Crib to record a Facebook Live video of Jake. I sat at the other end of the dining room table as Jake delivered a witty, humorous, and insightful stream-of-consciousness monologue to fans about WrestleMania weekend, the state of professional wrestling, his upcoming gigs, and more. He spun the phone around at one point to show everyone the room he was in and I made a brief cameo in the video, which was cool. I also got to see Jake cut on-the-fly promo videos for upcoming appearances. Garrett gave him a few talking points and Jake nailed most of these videos in one take, which astounded me. When he was done with each one he’d look at me and I’d say something similar to, “You killed it! Awesome job.” And I meant it. It’s not easy coming up with entertaining copy on-the-spot but Jake did it with ease. Again, this was another special moment I’m glad I got to experience on this trip. Most people can’t say they had Jake Roberts as a roommate, had him cook for them, got to be in one of his Facebook Live videos, and got to see him cut promos in-real-time.As with all trips, I’m ready to go home by the time they end. I missed my wife, my cats, and Philadelphia. That said, this was easily one of best weeks of my life. In addition to a terrific conference for work, I made the most of my time in Atlanta and wound up with epic memories that will last a lifetime. From pushing myself to new levels at the DDP Yoga Performance Center to being Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ roommate for a week to hanging out with Diamond Dallas Page and a former professional boxing great, it was a week for the ages.