Making A Difference With Friends, Family...and WRESTLING?

by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer, Wrestling Journalist
September 21, 2009

There was a unique scream coming from the next block up in Millvale. I couldn't tell what it was at first. Soon I would see that the recurring “eeeeeh aaaaah!” came from a young girl in a wheelchair. Her dutiful father pushed her around Millvale Days. She would emit that memorable scream often, and it seemed like that was her only form of vocalization.

Not long after I noticed this girl, we got the KSWA event going. I stood in the ring and could hear this excited “eeeeh aaaah!” When the wrestlers like Kris Kash or Anthony Alexander came out, she would jump up and down in the chair and flash this incredible smile. She was in her glory.

After the first day's show, the girl's father came over and bought “pre-sold” tickets for next Saturday's “Drop Kick Diabetes” fundraiser. They were already our newest KSWA Krazies.

The next day, they returned. The girl, I never did catch her name, apparently can communicate enough with friends and family and all she talked about was the KSWA. She sat enthralled until the Great Toyota or La Lucha arrived and once again, she hopped and screamed “eeeeh aaaah!”

Toward the end of the second day, I felt compelled to give her a “shout out” from inside the ring and said “how great this girl is,” and “thanks for coming.” People nearby said, “ahh” and cheered.

We in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance have been blessed with the greatest friends. Tim Gross, as rambunctious a fan as indy wrestling has ever enjoyed, almost never misses an event, regardless of the venue. He brings along another uber-fan, Charlie Fleming (who recently told me that he can't attend anymore without his own young son, Harrison). However, Tim also brings his young daughter, Sarah. Sarah is also in a wheelchair, but that doesn't limit her from being the KSWA's biggest fan. Some of the KSWA Megastars went to her birthday party a couple of years ago and she was as excited as anyone I've ever seen when “The Mayor of Mexico City” La Lucha walked through the door.

There's another family that drove several hundred miles when a couple of our guys moonlighted in another federation deep in the heart of West Virginia. They came to ringside and saw familiar faces. They asked, “what are you doing here?” They said, “to see you.” The wrestlers remain flabbergasted.

There are many professional wrestlers who are only “in it for the buck” when it comes to performing for fans. They wouldn't last long in Pittsburgh's professional wrestling organization.

Next Saturday the KSWA hosts a fundraiser for a man who suffers from diabetes. The illness is so bad that he is in severe financial straights. There are also health ramifications that I hate to even comment on. This gentleman's friends and neighbors came to us and asked if we could help.

We said yes.

From what I've been told, we have pre-sold more than 440 tickets for the event and we are nearing the capacity for the Ross Township Municipal Building.

Raffle items will include items provided by the Steelers, and perhaps items from the Pirates and Penguins. The plan is in flux. I've also been told that there's an entity that will match what we can raise, dollar-for-dollar. Let's hope that we can make a serious, positive dent in this man's situation.

We the members of the KSWA locker room are forgoing our usual honorariums to help this fellow man in need. We've done it before. A few years ago, one KSWA “megastar” asked us to throw a fundraiser for his grandmother, who was dying of cancer. For a while, the 300 in attendance was our biggest crowd. The fellowship was with us that night. She was touched beyond words. She has since gone on to her next great adventure, but we were glad to help that night. We've attempted some fundraisers that stunk at the box office, but because of the Men in Charge, we keep going. And flourishing.

Our FanFest in December—this year on the 5th—is more about getting our Krazies to bring toys for needy kids than anything. Plus, we give away more than $1,000 in goods to our fans each and every FanFest. No one else in the professional wrestling scene, large or small, does that.

We attended the Millvale Days parade Saturday morning, and in town, we saw many friends and family of the “KSWA Family” lining the parade route. Fathers and mothers, sisters and perhaps even a brother. There are girlfriends and wives, many of whom are just as integral a part of the operation as the guys who slip on the tights. It's heartwarming when friends and family support what we're doing. One guy is not-so-secretly bothered that his own father has never come to see him wrestle. My brother sat at ringside once and afterward said, “You're a good ring announcer.” I nearly cried.

When my own son, Taylor, didn't feel compelled to come to every event, FANS asked where he was. And when he was injured in that automobile accident, the “family” asked about one of its own.

Our sometimes-used tagline is “The KSWA is about opportunity.” The KSWA is “also about family.”

That young girl in the wheelchair in Millvale, as well as Sarah Gross, as well as the guy we're helping next week, as well as the kids we're helping with toys at Christmas time, as well as the other guy's dad who sits and grins with his grandson as he watches his own son point a little league bat at a mouthy fan. That's why we do what we do.

I smile and thank God for that opportunity every day. Chose to make a difference in your life.