AS I SEE IT 11/13: Putting a face on helping for the holidays

Nov 13, 2017 - by Bob Magee

AS I SEE IT

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

PWBTS.com

I wrote a year ago about a man named Bruce Jackson I met prior to going to Combat Zone Wrestling’s Night of Infamy show, when I stopped at Ott’s Sports Bar, just up the street from the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ pre-CZW show.

 

Bruce was a non-verbal wheelchair bound man profoundly affected by cerebral palsy who came to Ott’s  on weekends. He came by himself independently from a group home nearby this sports bar…to watch sports and be around people. The staff at Ott’s apparently know him by name, as he has come there before. As the afternoon moved into evening, I asked him a few times if he needed anything. Other than to ask me to get his communication board out, so he could communicate with us, he would shake his head no and smile. After a while the group next to me kind of noticed him, joined in…so he got to introduce himself to all of us via the board, which pleased him to no end. He got to do exactly what he wanted: to be around people and watch college football.

 

After he’d been there awhile, he motioned for me to open the door at Ott’s…and motored in his wheelchair back to his group home up the street. None of the bartenders thought that was especially remarkable and were perfectly sure he’d be just fine getting home.

 

Bruce being there that Saturday, getting to meet him, and saying hello was an unexpected and a powerful lesson for me to be thankful for what I have, quit sweating life’s inconveniences…and a reminder of the importance of sharing what I have with others this Holiday season…and for us all to do the same.

 

Several weeks later, I opened the Cherry Hill Courier Post. I was shocked to find out that my new friend Bruce…Bruce Jackson was his full name, died of kidney failure two Saturdays ago, literally as the whole Cage of Death daylong event was taking place and hundreds of toys were being collected.
It turns out Bruce Jackson was far from being just someone who liked to hang out at Ott’s, but was well known as the “superfan” of nearby Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, NJ. Bruce lived at Voorhees Rehabilitation and Care Center and made his way to Eastern Regional High School frequently in  his motorized wheelchair, for all their practices, athletic events, and more. Bruce pretty much adopted Eastern from 2000 on, and was known as a smiling, happy presence who communicated via his letter board and his laptop and iPad (which a counselor at Eastern helped him obtain). Turns out Bruce was as well, if not better, known than any staff member in the entire high school. The story of his death and life was among the longest stories of that day’s entire paper, and outlines how he inspired the students of Eastern Regional High School, with staff and administration sharing what he meant to the school.
Meeting him that day showed the importance of doing one small thing for someone else…during the Holidays, or anytime. It showed me that those you help have a very human face..a name…and a story behind their need.
Well, those holidays are here. A week from Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.
Christmas trees are already up in many local stores. HSN and QVC have been selling for Christmas for weeks, and Hallmark Channel is already into their Christmas mega-movie marathons. The retail cyber-universe is busy. People are already mauling each other at stores, and were recently in line to get the new iPhone (if it isn’t already breaking or having issues with the cold)… or are even getting something for their kids.
Over the years, independent wrestling promotions in my Philadelphia/South Jersey area have provided help to those who NEED, rather than WANT, as part of their year-end shows, promotions ranging from the family-friendly United Wrestling Coalition (for over 20 years) to the hardcore themed Combat Zone Wrestling (for 12 years) to indies of various sizes and types throughout the United States and Canada run such events from October to the Holidays and beyond.
42 such events have been announced for the Holidays or already held:
November
  • Hoosier Pro Wrestling raised $775 cash, 10 new bikes valued at $800 and $500+ in toys (total donation of over $2000) at the November 4 19th anniversary show (as well as collected toys at the October 7 show)
  • Cassidy Christie Memorial Show raised $2,300 for the Cassidy Christie Memorial College Scholarship Fund. Cassidy Christie is the 11 year old daughter of longtime Michigan wrestler Pete Christie and she died from a rare form of cancer in November 2015.  
  • Smash Wrestling presented a show in Cobourg, ON in support of Fighting the Truth on November 10. Fighting the Truth is a non-profit organization which raises awareness for mental illness and alcohol and substance abuse in sports.


  • UWE Pro Wrestling presented its annual Headlock for Hunger on November 11 at The Wex in Cadillac, MI.  The event benefits Shepard’s  Table.
  • Fighting for Autism partnered with Dynamo Pro Wrestling in a benefit show on November 11 in St. Charles, MO.  
 
  • Northern Tier Wrestling presented Fight for the Cure on November 12th in Towanda, PA at the Towanda High School with a 2:00 pm bell time. All ticket proceeds are being donated to the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital helping children with pediatric cancer.
  • Tommy Wildfire Rich’s Wrestling School in Myrtle Beach, BC is doing a food drive from November 6-14 with drop off locations at the X Gym Sports Mall and the Lowe‘s Foods in Murrell’s Inlet will be one. They are also working through Food Lion’s corporate offices to make local Food Lions dropoff locations.
  • Primal Conflict Wrestling has scheduled its annual food drive at its November 18 Harper’s Ferry, WV event. Fans that bring 2 canned or nonperishable food items will receive a $5 off coupon for Primal Conflict Wrestling merchandise. All donations will go to Jefferson County Community Ministries.
  • All Pro Wrestling and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada are again holding Headlock on Hunger on November 18 at the Edward C Reed High School, Sparks, NV
  • NOVA Pro Wrestling will again help the Jewish Community Center of Fairfax, VA on November 24 with its FACETS Toy Collection at its “11th Dimension” show at the JCC in Fairfax, VA.
  •  Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling presents “Headlocks for Hunger” on November 25 for the fourth consecutive year at the  Departure Bay Activity Center in Nanaimo, BC, VIPW will be collecting for the local Loaves and Fishes food bank. Fans get one raffle ticket for each food item for some awesome prizes.
 
  •  All Star Wrestling/West Virginia returns to Madison, WV on Black Friday (November 24th). Santa will for the second straight year, be collecting  bags of toys and cash donations for The Nice List.
  • Pro Wrestling Eclipse presents November Bash on November 26 at the Oshawa Legion Branch 43, Oshawa, ON. This year’s November Bash will be a fundraiser for two good causes: Feed The Street and Cold Foot Canada. Non perishable goods and clothing will be collected at the show.
  • Classic Championship Wrestling returns to Lebanon, PA on November 24 for Blood, Sweat, and Beers, benefiting Toys for Tots. Please bring a new, unopened toy and get $5 off your ticket.
December
  • Hoosier Pro Wrestling does its Firemen’s Cheer Fund Toys for Tots show (of three shows yearly) in Columbus, IN on December 2.
  • Wrestling for Charity presents “Fight for Daniel” on December 2 at the Claremore Community Center, Claremore, OK  to benefit the families of children fighting childhood cancer. 
  • Monster Factory Pro Wrestling returns on December 2 to the Monster Factory, 541 Mantua Avenue,  Paulsboro, NJ, on December 2. Monster Factory Pro Wrestling is doing a Toys for Tots collection at the show.

 

  • Tommy Wildfire Rich’s Wrestling School in Myrtle Beach, BC will be doing a Toys For Tots drive during December, with the X Gym the first drop off location
  • United Wrestling Coalition of Wrightstown, NJ, will hold their annual Toys for Tots event on December 2; with a special emphasis this year on behalf of the victims of Harvey, asking for a small donation or note of encouragement to this year’s hurricane victims in Houston and Puerto Rico. Go to https://www.facebook.com/UWCFanCave  for further information.
  • The Delaware/South Jersey based ECWA runs its annual Toys for Tots show on December 2 in Woodbury Heights, NJ.
  • Chinlock Wrestling comes to Kingston, ON on December 2 for its annual holiday charity show.  Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is featured.
  • Keystone State Wrestling Alliance presents: Fan Fest/Toy Drive 2017 on December 2 at the Spirit Hall (old Lawrenceville Moose) , 242 51st Street, Pittsburgh, PA
  • MCW Pro Wrestling has “Season’s Beatings”, its annual Toys for Tots show scheduled for December 2 in Joppa, MD.
  • American Premier Wrestling presents BRAWL 30 – Toys for Tots on December 2 at the APW Slam Center , Statesboro, GA. – Doors Open, 4:30 pm. Emerald Match, 4:45 pm. Bell Time, 5:00 pm. $7 Adults/Kids, $3.
  • Aspire Pro Wrestling returns to action on December 3 at the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association, 3501 Elm Avenue, Pennsauken with a 2:00 pm belltime. Donations of canned goods and non-perishables will be collected for the South Jersey Food Bank.
  •  Brew City Wrestling has scheduled its annual Headlock for Hunger food collection at its December 8 show in West Allis, WI.
  • California’s Big Time Wrestling returns for “Rock The Bells”, their annual holiday toy drive in Newark, CA on December 8.
  • H20: HardCore Hustle Organization returns on December 8 for HOSS, a 16 person tournament at the Monroe Business Center, 1041 Glassboro Road/
    Building C/Suite 1 in Williamstown, NJ. The show will feature a Toys for Toys collection.
  • United Pro Wrestling teams up with Ultimate Championship Wrestling on December 9 for a Toys for Tots Toy Drive at the National Guard Armory in Bowling Green, KY.
 
  • Northeast Wrestling returns to the NEW Arena, 40 Peck Road, Bethany, CT on Saturday, December 9 for King of Bethany. This is Northeast Wrestling’s annual holiday spectacular and a Toys for Tots – Fundraising event. The Marines will be in attendance that day. The promotion asks all of its fans to help those in need to bring an unwrapped toy and support Toys for Tots this holiday season.


  • All State Championship Wrestling returns to New Egypt, NJ on December 9 at New Egypt High School with a 7:00 pm bell time to benefit Toys for Tots. $5 off your ticket with a new, unwrapped toy.
  • 3Count Pro Wrestling returns to Liberty High 124 Red Devil Dr, Liberty, SC on December 9 for Country Santa Clash 5 as they raise money and collect toys for Country Santa. WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson will be there for a VIP meet and greet at 5:30 pm
  • Combat Zone Wrestling and DJ Hyde have agreed again to do the annual Toys for Tots collection (in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve) for the thirteenth year in a row at Combat Zone Wrestling’s Cage of Death 19 on December 9 at the Rastelli Kids Complex, 1855 Hurffville Rd, Sewell, NJ. Details to come.
  • DCW Pro Wrestling presents Rumble for Glory on December 9 at the Milford Community Center, 105 NE Front St. Milford, DE to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
  • Golden Corner Wrestling presents Christmas Corner in Seneca, SC on December 10 at the Bounty Land Baptist Church, 1926 Blue Ridge Blvd, Seneca, SC. The event will raise money for a local fan’s medical bills, plus
    acts as a Toys for Tots show (bring an unwrapped toy and receive 1 free student ticket with 1 paid adult ticket) .
  • Ontario’s Smash Wrestling  presents SMASH!STIGMA! together with Wrestling With Stigma to benefit the The Peterborough AIDS Resource Network on December 10 at The Venue, Peterborough, ON. SMASH!STIGMA! will feature top local, Canadian and International wrestling personalities such as Petey Williams “The Canadian Destroyer” TNA Wrestling Star, Tyson Dux
  •  Imperial Wrestling Revolution will do a Toys for Tots show at its December 10 show in Ardmore, OK. They are also working on starting a partnership with Vettix.org, which gives away free tickets to active duty military personnel and veterans.
  • Crossfire Wrestling comes to Lincoln Alexander Centre, 160 King Street East, Hamilton, ON on December 16 with an 8:00 pm belltime in a benefit for Mission Services Men’s Shelter and Addiction Services.
  •  Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling presents its annual Wrestling For Hunger show in New Westminster, BC on December 16. 7:30 pm bell time (doors open at 7:00 pm)
  • Georgia Wrestling Extreme presents its first Annual Holiday Throwdown and Toy Drive on December 16 in Albany, GA. Tickets are only $10, ($7 with any unwrapped Toy) kids 5 and under are free. Special appearances by Scott Hudson and Jimmy Rave .
  • Miracle in Greektown takes place December 17 in Toronto, ON to benefit the John Howard Society of Toronto, which provides addiction/harm reduction services, domestic violence services and more
  • Keystone Championship Wrestling presents “Slay Bells Ring”, a Toys for Tots show, on December 23 at the Darby Recreation Center, 1022 Ridge Avenue, Darby, PA.
For those of you readers who see giving a toy, a can of food, or a warm coat as just one small thing, please understand this: a can of soup means that gets a meal for a day, a box of rice means that a family is fed for a week or more, a warm coat meant a child won’t shiver uncontrollably when they walk to school, or a toy meant that a child is allowed a moment of innocence and joy, often after they’ve gone through fear and deprivation for far too long. Just like the people did and are doing for those in need in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida…now it’s your turn to do that one small thing.
So… if you’re a independent wrestling promotion, and you HAVEN’T thought of doing a charity-themed holiday show to give back to your community….time to start planning.  If you’re an indy fan, and your promotion isn’t named…ask them if they plan to do something this year.
As always, I’ll plug these events here to the point you can recite them in your sleep; no matter what else I may discuss in this blog. Please send them to me ASAP at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or bobmagee856@gmail.com.
Until next time….
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