December 18, 2021
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Lou Martin discreetly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye while visiting Mike in his "Bachelor Pad" at Citizen Care in Coraopolis. Mike, a 67-year-old resident of the independent living facility--and a huge fan of professional wrestling--was excitedly reacting to a Christmas-time visit by the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA).
Martin, as well as Golden Triangle Champion Shane Starr and the KSWA tag team champions, "The Renegades"--Yinza the Pittsburgh Luchadore and "Big Country" Matt McGraw, were draping Mike with their championship gold belts. Mike initially misunderstood that he wasn't permanently receiving a championship title, and thanked the KSWA wrestlers profusely. "Thank you, thank you. I can't believe I have a championship belt."
Then, "The Face of Pittsburgh" stepped up. Martin, the reigning Homestead "Brawl Under the Bridge" champion, gave Mike his title. "I will cherish this until the day I die," said Mike, several times throughout the visit. At one point, Mike dashed away from the gathering simply to put the championship title in his room.
Mike had noticed that the five-year-old belt had a small separation in the corner where a bolt had come loose. Martin told him he wore out the end by hitting a fellow grappler in the head with the belt. "I won it in a ladder match," Martin detailed in the Brawl Under the Bridge contest on July 20, 2019.
Mike added, "December 18, one of the best days of my life, when I got a championship belt."
Mike is a part of the "Hattman Crew," a group of about 10 residents who routinely travel from Coraopolis to various KSWA matches in Lawrenceville, Glenshaw and elsewhere. KSWA staff isn't sure where or when the group first discovered the KSWA, but they have routinely reserved front row tickets and have the time of their lives. Staffers said that those who attended FanFest were very diligent about bringing toys for the Toy Drive.
A couple of years ago, a KSWA fan social-media-posted a picture of some of the "Hattman Crew" celebrating with Yinza after a match, with a comment entitled, "This is ministry." Many of the megastars who saw the post agreed with the sentiment.
"It is spot on," said KSWA Owner Bobby O. "My heart is full! It's what you do with what you do, and I'm proud of what we do."
The wrestlers and staff visited four impeccably tidy and organized apartments, and spent time in a common area where the residents opened gifts and talked with the Megastars.
Some of the crew have taken to "The Renegades," and during the visit, one resident, Brandon, raced to hug Matt McGraw and Yinza before greeting all of the others.
"Very humbled to be able to contribute to moments like today," said Yinza. "Thanks to [KSWA executive] Missy Zygmuncik for setting this up and making it happen."
"I'm truly happy to be a part of this organization," added McGraw.
The Megastars handed out candy canes, as well as gifts with each resident's personality and taste in mind. Some puzzle lovers received puzzles, Brandon got a headphone for when he plays video games, and another resident named Dennis received a wrist watch. "He collects wrist watches," said Victor the director of Citizen Care.
Many of the residents remain productive members of society, working at big box department stores, and fast food restaurants among other jobs. The day of the KSWA visit, some fans like Brandon, Bill and Bruce, came with fresh haircuts.
"I believe I can speak for everyone, it was an honor for us to do this for these awesome people," said Shane Starr. "It was such a great experience."
Members of the "Hattman Crew" watch wrestling on television, but they also know a lot about the KSWA wrestlers and asked detailed questions. And some were simply overjoyed to be a part of the action. Several "crew" members talked about buying tickets for upcoming shows, as well as others they hope are scheduled later next year.
"It's moments like this that I will remember forever," noted Martin.
The Megastars spent about two hours with the residents.
Bobby O asked "how can you not be touched by this reception?" and added, "Merry Christmas, everyone."