By Colleen Flaherty
Fort Hood Herald
Professional wrestler Mick Foley grew up wanting to be in the military.
The United States Military Academy at West Point and United States Naval Academy had other plans for the high school senior, however, as he writes in his new book, "Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal."
"I grew up with a deep respect for the military," he said in a phone interview, adding that he once sported a crew cut, so different from his now trademark shag and beard.
Foley will appear at the Clear Creek Main Exchange Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. for a book signing. His book is filled with other surprising interests and facts.
Tori Amos' music, donations to ChildFund International and constant self-deprecation, for example, aren't things one would automatically associate with a professional wrestler. Former WWE star Foley hits all three hard, however, in "Countdown to Lockdown."
"I think subconsciously that it was a way of making people feel a little less intimidated, especially as I got taller and bigger and hairier," said Foley of his surprising wit, on display in this, his fourth memoir.
He lives in New York with his wife and four children.
Foley writes all his books himself, without the help of a co-writer, he said. In "Countdown to Lockdown," he takes his readers through his decision to come out of retirement and to fight wrestling legend Sting at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
The six-week preparation process wassn't easy. Foley experienced back problems, relieved somewhat by a blind masseuse, and heavy doses of self-doubt. He makes several references in the book to Mickey Rourke's tragic character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson in the 2008 film "The Wrestler."
Foley believes Robinson's fictional path could have been his own, if not for key decisions at different forks in the road, he said.
"I loved that character," he said. "I would consider writing a prequel."
Foley touches on temptations such as steroids in several chapters of his book.
"Wrestling doesn't cause weaknesses," he said, "but it certainly can exploit weaknesses."
Through an at-once linear narrative and the constant, humorous digressions that have become his literary trademark, Foley eventually arrives at the fight with Sting. He narrates it in real-time, giving unique insight into the world of professional wrestling.
Even wrestling fans acquainted with the fight may enjoy reliving its outcome from Foley's perspective.
Many of those fans are active duty military, he said, adding that he was happy to visit Fort Hood.
"Service members really seem to like and appreciate what we do on a level that many people don't understand," he said.
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.
Professional wrestler Mick Foley will sign copies of "Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal" from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Clear Creek Main Exchange at Fort Hood.