First and foremost, I thank all of the wrestlers who shared their lives with
me. I am truly grateful for their openness, vitality, and passion. I hope that
they appreciate this work despite my critical stance.
After the wrestlers, there is no one I thank more than Justine Stehle.
She supported me in countless ways for what felt like a countless number
of years. She’s one of the sharpest and most focused in the bunch, and her
insights were invaluable. Thank you, Justine, for always keeping things in
perspective and for reveling in the wrestling world (almost as much as
I did).
Michael Schwartz changed my relationship to sociology and, subse-
quently, life itself. I cannot thank him enough for always believing in me.
I have never known anyone as accomplished, influential, and skilled as
he is (nor so lacking in the unfortunate pretenses that often accompany
these qualities). Thank you, Michael, for being a loving, fatherly friend. I
hope one day to be able to offer my students the devotion, wisdom, and
love that you give yours.
No one has done as much to help me bring this book through to com-
pletion as Javier Auyero. Thank you, Javier, for being so attentive, so thor-
ough, and so damn quick to write back—and for letting me take full ad-
vantage of your great mind! You have been the epitome of reliability. You
inspired me to do ethnography and always to work harder and go further.
I’m very grateful for your mentorship and fantastic energy. If I produce
even a quarter of the high- quality scholarship you produce, I will consider
myself an academic success. Not sure what you run on (other than maté),
but I want some. Thank you, too, to Michael Kimmel for his important
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