AS I SEE IT 5/12

Last Monday, I wrote in my AS I SEE IT about the good done by wrestling promotions, primarily indy wrestling, but also mentioned what WWE does for children. Well, this video is one of the best examples of what WWE does, and of the human side of what wrestling can do.

Say what you will about WWE’s storylines. Say what you want to about WWE as a business (I do).

But don’t watch the video above and not shed a tear or two. I did.

In the above video is the story of 7 year old Connor Michalek. He was a huge WWE fan, especially of Daniel Bryan.

Michalek, of suburban Pittsburgh, PA had been diagnosed with cancer of the brain and spine at age 3. He had to endure brain surgery, several other surgeries, nine rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of full spine and brain radiation. Doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of surviving. He made it past those somehow. One of the things that kept him going wrestling.

He was so much a wrestling fan he went by his wrestling nickname of “Connor the Crusher”. After a YouTube video asking to meet Bryan Danielson hit Facebook and Twitter, and made it to and eventually made it all the way to him. Very quickly the arrangements were made for Connor to meet Danielson in December 2012. Connor was able to pose with the Tag Team Championship belts (while Danielson was doing the Team Hell No program with Kane), and even got to submit Danielson in the ring before a RAW taping.

WWE did a video of Connor’s experience with the company. It features Stephanie McMahon, in a really emotional moment, talking about Connor,  The video ends showing Connor, able to attend Wrestlemania with his father. In a scene in the video that will make the most hateful person on Earth cry, moments after Danielson won the WWE Title, he sought out Connor and his father at ringside.

Connor died from brain cancer weeks shortly after Wrestlemania, but it’s clear that what WWE did helped give this little boy a few weeks more of joy in his short life.

It blows me away that Bryan Danielson….in the middle of the insanity immediately at the end of the Wrestlemania PPV, remembered that little boy, and helped give his short life a few more days and weeks of joy.

Watch, and have a tissue when you do. The WWE video has again gone viral since it was first posted on You Tube. A ton of sports websites has posted it. Newspaper websites have posted it. Even some news sites overseas have posted the video. In an unusual twist, even political websites on both sides that agree on nothing going on the day I write this have posted this; simply because it does what people can do…and that wrestling at its best does, both in front of the camera and away from the camera.

As a followup to keep Connor’s memory alive, and to raise money against medullablastoma (brain and spine cancer), the disease that took his life, Connor’s friends and family, along with the folks at Pro Wrestling Tees) are selling a Connor The Crusher t-shirt, with all profits are donated to the Connor’s Crusade Fund. You can order from <A HREF=”"”>this link</a>   Speaking of an emotional moment…and an historic one, watch Michael Sam react as he got the telephone call that he’d finally been drafted on Saturday.

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Most people reacted in the way they should, that his selection was a welcome and historic moment for professional sports; including some people that might have surprised any observer.

But there were the inevitable religious bigots, the fools, and the outright idiots who reacted in ways that I won’t repeat here on his selection, to those who felt they had to share their reaction to Sam being drafted at all, and to Samkissing his partner after breaking down in tears reacting to the phone call from the St. Louis Rams.

There were the religious bigots who felt the need to use God to justify their naked hate. There were those who didn’t bother to disguise it with any trappings of a Bible or Koran verse. There were the men who were simply dealing with issues with their own male adequacy or just expressing their plain, cold hate of who and what they don’t understand.

Here’s my two cents: who Michael Sam loves, or any other football, soccer, hockey, baseball, bocce ball player, professional wrestler…or any other human being loved is none of your damned business. God and some words in a religious text are not an excuse. Michael Sam “flaunting his lifestyle” is not an excuse. Your favorite sport somehow being contaminated is not an excuse.

The reality is that he is not the only LGBT plater in the NFL. It’s well known that there are others, whose names are known by but who have not been outed by sportscaster and sportswriters. Odds are one of them is the favorite player of one or more of the haters. Eventually, it’ll be someone who is already a household name for what he does on the field. Even more likely, it already is.

The most articulate speech on the subject came from, of all places, a Dallas sportswriter, Dale Hansen.

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He talked about NFL (and other athletes)  who  are deeply destructive to the world and people around them, yet are still revered for their on-field performance:

<i>”You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft.

You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome.

Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome.

Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away?

You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that.

[But] you love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far!

I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay. I don’t understand his world. “But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”</i>

I agree. I don’t understand the lives of LGBT people….or women…or Jews or Muslims, or Blacks, or Russians. I can’t pretend to. I can try to, I can listen. I can not react automatically out of fear when I meet someone who is different than I am..

But they are all part of my world, and I rejoice in that diversity.

Yet with this history being made, the reality in the 2014 NFL draft is that there was one well-known draftee who submitted a dirty drug test at the NFL combine, but was selected before Michael Sam. Another from Notre Dame was involved was linked to an alleged sexual assault in a dorm room made on a fellow student who committed suicide 10 days later, but was selected higher.

So it’s a step, but the NFL has a long way to go…a very long way.

It’s easier for some to be touched at kindness given to a terminally ill child. I understand that. But as I celebrate my 57th birthday today, it occurs to me that Connor Michalek and Michael Sam have more in common that you’d think, and it may be the most important thing in our lives: it’s the desire to live, love, and feel some joy in one’s life every day, and the chance to have those you love with you in the journey.

Until next time….   If you have comments or questions, or if you’d like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at the address above. If you’d like to add advertising on (the flagship website of this column), banner ads are available for $400 for one year. These ads would appear on each newspage appearing on the newsboard. Cube ads are available for $200 for one year, which would be placed on the main newsboard.


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