Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Friday, April 06, 2012

McKeesport Nun Has Long Been A Diamond On The Infield

The Opening Day commotion was building. Every spring, PNC Park on Pittsburgh’s North Shore is alive with optimism and hope for the upcoming baseball season. Despite the team’s nearly two decades of below-par winning percentages, patrons still flock with excitement. Pirates baseball fans are just as tough and loyal as any team’s anywhere.

On a picture-perfect, mid-50’s, blue-skied day, just between the home team’s dugout and home plate a unique gathering grew. Half a dozen silver-haired ladies excitedly converged near a concrete camera pit near the field. More joined in on the festivities. On the crisp, freshly-shorn grass, well-dressed baseball executives, on-field entertainers and others crowded ever so close. Something was a buzz. Was a world-class, A-List celebrity making a surprise appearance? A closer peek revealed a lively, energetic, lovely older lady in a wheelchair. She smiled and waved at what was becoming a rock star’s entrance.

Some of her fans started talking loud enough for observers to hear. It turns out that Sister Mary Bride Diamond, 80, was the Pirates’ Opening Day “Fan of the Game” and endless throngs were elated to be there for the honor.

When she was a child, Mary Bride played baseball with her brothers and other kids in her McKeesport neighborhood. The sport became her first passion. Mary Bride became so talented that she became a catcher for a Pittsburgh-area fast-pitch softball team. While she protected the plate with pride, she also played almost every other position during her vaunted career. Pitching, it seemed, was the only position she hadn’t mastered.

Last December, a National Catholic News article detailed how Ms. Diamond once had a tryout for the famed “All American Girls Professional Baseball League.” That organization was forever celebrated in the delightful Tom Hanks/Gina Davis vehicle “A League of Their Own.” More than half a century ago, not only did Ms. Diamond swing, run and field well for scouts, she was one of only three women from the region chosen from a lot of 125.

Ms. Diamond, a teenager in the late 1940’s, faced a quandary that really doesn’t happen much today. Since both of her parents had passed away, the youngest of eight’s future endeavors were left in the hands of her oldest brother, Jack. She asked if she could join the barnstormers. Her brother would change her life forever by saying no.

“He said that she had to finish high school,” said Janet Lahlou, who beamed as she talked about her great-aunt. Lahou dashed around, smiling from ear-to-ear snapping photos of the occasion.

As it oftentimes happens, fate dashes one dream and opens the door for another. After graduating high school, Ms. Diamond got a job with the G.C. Murphy Company. A former high school teacher believed Mary Bride possessed great personal integrity and should look into something more rewarding. The teacher encouraged her to visit the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pittsburgh. Soon, the catcher who was used to getting spiked in the leg or slicing game-winning hits from the dish became a Nun.

For the past 59 years, Mary Bride Diamond has served Pittsburgh’s Sisters of Charity infirmary, but she has never forgotten her first love: baseball.

Lahou said it was that newspaper article from last year that led to this moment. The story indicated how Diamond secretly wished to throw out the first pitch at a Pirate game. Not only did a telephone call from the Pirates happen, they asked about her availability for Opening Day.

Unfortunately, Diamond was unable to toss out the first pitch from her wheelchair, but she was able to visit with the team while on the field and receive several signed baseballs from stars such as Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutcheon and Pittsburgh’s own Neil Walker.

“She’s blessing each of them,” said Lahlou with a chuckle. Indeed, Diamond, mere feet from her namesake, was casting God’s good wishes on a team that many fans would agree could use them.

“This is a great day,” said one of the Sisters of Charity Nuns who couldn’t be more grateful for their colleague. When Mary Bride was introduced, the standing-room-only crowd of 39,585 erupted in joyful applause. She waved graciously, a smile as bright as the brand new home plate behind her.

In the article from last December, Mary Bride said, “When God calls you, he calls you no matter what; that's it," she said. "I have had an interesting life, thanks be to God.”

And on Opening Day 2012, God led off the game with Mary Bride Diamond.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dear "Occupy" Friends: We're The REAL 99, You Are The 1%

Since I don't have cable TV, I was late to the "Occupy Wall Street" phenomenon. Once I stumbled upon this issue du jour, I paid closer attention. And I wondered if and when these "activists" would crop up in Pittsburgh.
First thing everyone should know about the "Occupy" crowd is that they are un-sophisticated in their attempts. When asked about their intensions, "spokespeople" tick off a litany of dysfunctional talking points: equality, fairness, and more equality, always spoken with an arrogant, condescending giggle. No one seems to know what they really want, how they hope to get it, or how long they will be squatting on property--private and public--depending on the city.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it best when asked how he'd handle the "Occupy" crowd: "You are not allowed to sleep on the streets." Rudy would have rolled up the streets, much like he did to rid the sidewalks of the homeless while in office. In Pittsburgh, a small gaggle of protesters muddle around, and according to newspaper reports, leave their tents to trudge off to work come normal business hours.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. And as a registered Republican, he extolled virtues that come off more Conservative in nature than elitists would have us believe. Conversely, Author Michael Scheuer called the Democrats the party of slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism. It cannot be debated which side of the political aisle the Occupy "movement" sits.
The folks fit Socialism perfectly. Like most Liberals, they express self-gratifying opinions of superior intelligence. There's video from New York of toughs shouting down a woman they refer to as a Jew. Tolerance isn't accepted, unless it fits in their niche categories.
Already you can see hints that the Bohemian "feel good" cook-outs with Bongo drums are going to have a change in attitude. There's a recent picture in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where an attention-craving activist in Ferris Buehler attire has wandered off the reservation, toting a crudely-drawn sign designed to attract confrontation in the faces of downtown office workers. Occupy Wall Street has the population--misguided as it is--to make CNN and FOX News fodder, but in smaller venues like Pittsburgh, it's simply a quaint novelty. That is until they realize that their vague exercise in futility will lead to frustration.
That's when their lack of real ideas and strategy might get dangerous.
Listen to activists and their ideology is all over the map. They feel entitled to good paying jobs just because they are going to, or are recently graduates of, college. Instead of making a job out of finding a good job, they are dancing in open areas, pounding on picnic tables, and denouncing the very "change" most of them voted for three scant years ago.
Some spokespeople say that their ranks are filled with "Democrats, Republicans, Anarchists." Aside from the rogue Libertarian Ron Paul supporter, there aren't any true "Republicans" among their ranks. Paul's fans are stereotypically conservative when it comes to economics, but sometimes far left when it comes to social issues, hence the long-time "Republicans who smoke pot" moniker.
When temperatures get cold, some of the activists might go home. Some might feel the need to get a job. Some might become irritated because their movement will never rise to importance, and always be a tossel-cap wearing distraction.
Conservatives are always decried for owning guns, but in these situations, it's the young, adrenaline-fueled idealists who sometimes turn to violence. They at least turn defiant, as the unapologetic G-20 demonstrators proved in Pittsburgh a few years ago. These activists are always eager for a tussle, because they believe their are a superior breed, unaffected by codes and regulations.
It's easy to blame multi-millionaires and billionaires who have more than others. Without a true grasp of finances or economics, it's easier to point to this populace as cold, heartless and greedy. It's impossible to understand who these activities might think employ them to generous salaries if it isn't billionaires and their corporations.
It can't be them and their peers. They don't work hard enough to earn such compensation.
There are members of the working community who operate three small businesses and use those proceeds to run a fourth. While these people can't employ dozens or even hundreds of employees, they do provide valuable services to some. There are members of the working community who work around the clock to launch a labor-of-love business project. While these members of the community can't employ dozens or even hundreds of employees, they dream of the day they can. Remarkably, the Occupy crowd (who might enjoy a young entrepreneur's empathy now) will assuredly demonize these people for having too much. We are the 99. You are the rest.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2012: Entering The Final Campaign

It seems like yesterday when we walked you for your first day of kindergarten. You were ready and willing to take on the challenge. We weren't, yet somehow we survived, largely by taking the day off and moping.
You charged through the door at the end of the day and your adventure began.
For the first several years you made immediate friends with the crossing guard, in fact, you became her right hand man. The devotion you had for each other was quick and sincere.
When she announced her retirement we were stunned and worried. At her retirement celebration at school, I wept while trying to read a proclamation I created from the community group I joined. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life but I did it with you in mind and heart.
It was there we first learned of your unique challenges as a second-generation ADHD'er. It was also there that you formed long-time friendships with every teacher you had. Despite the jumping up to watch fire trucks race down the thoroughfare, you somehow knew the answer for the question your teacher was asking.
Before we knew it your days as an elementary school student were over.
Riding the bus was a new journey as grade school was a mere two-block walk. This time you befriended the bus driver. That wasn't a surprise.
The classes were tougher, the challenges difficult. The small-school quaintness was gone, replaced by metal detectors and a more serious faculty. Some embraced your uniqueness, while for the first-time ever, others didn't. But somehow you survived.
The most life-altering changes in your life were to come that last year in middle school and after that you were uprooted to a high school full of strangers in an entirely different culture. Sometimes the personal struggles overshadowed the job-at-hand. It hasn't been an easy hoe in any way, shape or form.
Tomorrow you lace up the sneakers for the last, first day of school. Despite some of the biggest challenges of your life, you only missed two days of school last year (one so you could attend Wings Over Pittsburgh for your true love--the Civil Air Patrol), and one because no one else was going to school at the end of the year (against my better judgement, of course). The grades--they could and should be better--but you can blame the first-generation ADHD'er for that one.
Through it all, I'm proud of you and love you more today than yesterday. It won't be as much as tomorrow. I eagerly await--and dred--that final day of classes and what your future entails. It's not the way I wanted it to end for you, but we adapt to our circumstances.
You'll do fine. It's a remarkable day, an unbelievable time. Enjoy your senior year in high school, son. Embrace every day, each experience. It's a ride you will never want to forget.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Your Love Life Is On The Rocks: Don't Worry

Yikes and Yowza! In recent times, more friends than I'd care to admit have come to me, saying that their long-time relationships and/or marriages have completely unhinged. I've thought long and hard about this and decided that I'd toss down a few words (sometimes embarrassing) on the subject, seeing that my own long-term friendship/marriage crumbled after 20 years some four years ago. Plus, you might not hear from a dude on the subject all that often.
You see, while you certainly feel at a crossroads, things will improve.
Do Not Worry. I am not a biblical scholar. In fact, my Christian faith is in its infancy, but I often come back to the words in Matthew (this might be the most profound passage I've ever heard in any form): “Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”
Will you have sleepless nights when your relationship comes to an end? Absolutely. Will you blame yourself and cause yourself undue stress? I'd bet on it. Are these feelings natural? Again, I would guess so. But these feelings will pass.
There's no need to worry.
Continue Working. Even when there are days when you feel worthless, perhaps even useless, chances are good you have work to do. You most likely have a day job. Go to work every day, especially if that's all you currently have "going on." And try to focus on that. Do the job well, the best of your abilities. I'm pleased to hear that employers and managers are reasonable and supportive in this regard when you are a productive employee to begin with. And in my own personal experience, they have been extremely supportive.
Do What You Enjoy. This is particularly true of your hobbies. If there's anything that makes you forget about your troubles--for me it has been writing, adventuring with my son and wrestling-related ventures--continue on with gusto. This allows you to keep your mind off of your troubles. And sometimes it just makes the day go faster, and at times nothing is more valuable. Get involved in your community, your church, clean up your street. Keep busy.
Cut Down On The Drinking/Smoking. This is where I may find some controversy. It's my experience that people cut down on their alcoholic beverages as they age. Being someone who never drank or smoked, I personally never had to curb that behavior. That being noted, slicing down those vices may contribute to better health and a sunnier outlook. I kissed a girl 25 years ago who smoked. I still remember it. Heck, if you want to stay a social drinker and smoker, don't change. It may not be wise to increase those activities once the dating scene resumes. (Editor's note: I digress if both of those things mean a lot to you.)
Check In On Your Friends. Your best friends will check in on you to see how you are, but don't forget to reach out to someone you may help. There's always someone in your personal universe who has a tougher time than you. I've found that reaching out to friends makes me feel better, as I'm sharing with others who may need a pick-me-up. The old adage is to check in on the elderly or infirmed. How about someone you suspect might need a friendly hello, regardless of their age?
Make New Friends. If you find yourself on the single's scene again after a long time away, don't fret. Yes, you may look at every member of the opposite gender as a dating possibility (I shudder when I reluctantly think of those days several years ago), but expect nothing but friendship and comradery. Make pals regardless of their sex. It's nice to get invites out-of-the-blue for get togethers from all over the place.
You'll Fall In Love Again. Let's suppose that your relationship/marriage has come to an end. It's an idea I for one don't easily condone, but it is what it is. People grow apart. Judging anyone over anything is unproductive. Someone once told me that they knew of people who were separated during the week, and were "hooking up" with someone new the first weekend. That's probably not the best thing to do. However, over time, and at exactly the correct time, it will happen.
Do Not Worry. It's that simple. Relax, don't freak out. It will be okay.
I'll throw out some other observations when they strike. Feel free to comment if you have something to add. I'm not an expert, just experienced.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Caveat To Myself In 1976: Meeting Lindsay Wagner

A Caveat To Myself In 1977: Meeting Lindsay Wagner

When I was a young lad, my life revolved around The Six Million Dollar Man (the original Steve Austin), The Incredible Hulk, and a litany of "Bigfoot" documentaries that were seemingly released every summer. Add to that Superman, Spiderman, and Andre the Giant. For that I believe I was a fairly average pre-teen.
Then in 1976, Deirdra Hall was ElectraWoman and Lindsay Wagner was The Bionic Woman. While my life would still revolve around those other interests until this very, so would--well--an athletic member of the fairer gender.
I was able to finally meet Lou Ferrigno at the Steel City Con a few years ago and would still love to meet Lee Majors. Sadly, Andre has been wrestling in heaven for quite a while now. But not long ago I opened my email to see that Lindsay Wagner was coming to the Steel City Con, which is now held in Monroeville.
Now I'm not really an "autograph" kinda guy. I will get a book autographed at a signing if I feel compelled, but my signed Styrofoam plate (from George Plimpton) and tattered 1989 California Times newspaper (from Adam West) are long gone. I couldn't tell you where my Dusty Rhodes or John Waters Polaroids are, and I pass on Virgil's scribbles every time I see him.
My favorite autograph story isn't even for me. My Step Dad Bob idolized Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson (it probably started because they share the same surname) and I had the opportunity to get the Third Baseman's signature about 16 years ago on a brand new baseball. I still remember watching Bob's face when he looked at the prize that read: "To Bob, Keep Swinging. Brooks Robinson."
However, I do enjoy meeting various celebs and Lindsay harkened back to my 9-year-old self. So I made the sojourn to the concrete mess that is Monroeville.
The parking lot at the Monroeville Convention Center was full but I somehow lucked into a prime spot. A guy was screaming at a car that was pulling out of the spot because the driver apparently didn't see him. In an over-exaggerated huff, the guy immediately walked right in front of my rental. I had to laugh.
Once inside people in Star Wars robes wandered through table upon table of niche memorabilia. There were even some folks who had tables straight out of a flea market. My kind of place. There was only one appropriately-clad girl dressed as a superhero. The tall 50-something guy quickly snapped a photo from her behind. I told him he was the smartest guy in the room. He laughed.
Former WWE Diva Torrie Wilson was the first celebrity I noticed along the wall of B-and-C talent. The teacher from "Saved by the Bell" and the afro-ed neighbor on "That 70's Show" were inking photos and had a good time. Later, everyone would ask how Torrie looked, as if the one-time fitness and beauty contestant winner would have devolved into something heinous at 36. While there weren't air-brush artists in Monroeville, Wilson remains staggering in her beauty. Plus as I watched (I wasn't going to pay $40 just to say hello), she appeared to be friendly and jovial with everyone who approached. At one point we made eye contact. She wasn't repulsed. I felt good about myself. lol
Then I saw Wagner. Prior research would reveal that she is now 62 and she looks age appropriate. The brownish-blond hair is now blond and--shall I expose--gray? She signed autographs and took pictures for a small fee. According to press material, she doesn't do many of these and her appearance was made in part because two guys paid the tab. There was a small line and I debated with myself whether I should part with the stipend to get a picture. My cell phone doesn't take the most awesome pictures, especially when someone besides me is pointing the silly lens.
I decided to walk around some more. When I returned a short time later, at noon, her seat was empty. Presumably even the Bionic Woman needs to grab a quick bite. Close by, Bob Pinciotti continued to sign away.
Meanwhile, a few rows over, no one stopped to talk with Virgil.
When Lindsay returned and after I took a picture of someone dressed as Chewbacca, I decided to give it a go. I'm often weary that a celebrity might be a dink in real life, plus I feel that plunking down picture money is superfluous so I am always antsy about it.
Then I thought of my 1976 counterpart, who idolized the tall, powerful girl with flowing locks.
I introduced myself and asked how her visit to Pittsburgh was. In a voice that I've always found unique and memorable, she said she was having a good time. I also told her I recently watched a "Bionic Woman" YouTube video of her and Pittsburgh-native Ted Cassidy as Bigfoot. She chuckled. Believe you me, I'm not the first to remind her of that cinematic gold.
Not as tall as I originally surmised, whisper-thin and wearing open-toed sandals and a white sun dress that easily reflects her current life as a "Quiet The Mind and Open The Heart" workshop hostess, she seems 100 years passed The Bionic Woman. She removes her dark-rimmed glasses for every picture (I should have told her to keep them on), and smiles politely. I placed my left hand on her shoulder, her right hand wrapped around my back. Like Wilson, she didn't recoil in horror.
Then my phone started acting up. The assistant who assisted with such things couldn't figure out my camera. She was patient as we tried again. I was embarrassed. I should have done the Charles Nelson Reilly collar tug.
I asked if she'd ever been in Pittsburgh before. She said "maybe for the Paper Chase, but I'm not sure." That 1973 film pre-dated the TV series and it was also produced before she ever flipped her hair back to expose that bionic ear. I don't think it was filmed here, so perhaps she did some publicity.
The picture was finally taken after a couple of awkward moments and I parted with another query (heck, I was going to take as much time as I could and I was, at least momentarily, the last person in line and I did pry open my wallet). "Where you ever asked to be a part of the re-booted "Bionic Woman" that laid a huge egg on NBC a couple of seasons ago now. "No," was her answer. "They didn't want anything at all from the previous show." She seemed disappointed. I know I was. It's impossible to think that the "new" Jaime Sommers couldn't walk into a room and see Lindsay Wagner in some role, sitting in a chair. You wonder why the "geniuses" in Hollywood can't see what their market wants.
That was it. She sat back down and greeted a new fan, who sauntered her way over. And that was it for me at Steel City Con. It was time to get back to Keystone State Wrestling Alliance business. It was a Saturday in July for Andre's sake.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Wecht Spins Yarns With The Best Of Them On The South Side

In what was once considered “a past life,” I interviewed every important political and leader in Pittsburgh and sometimes Western Pennsylvania. On a few occasions they were even bigger. I interviewed then-Governor Tom Ridge on a golf course during an Arnold Palmer charity event. I was on the tarmac with then-President Bill Clinton.

Once upon a time I interviewed almost everyone of consequence in this region (Mario Lemieux and Fred Rogers notwithstanding) and maintained a fairly decent Rolodex. No list of contacts would be complete in Pittsburgh without Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, one-time Coroner, one-time Medical Examiner, one-time County Commissioner, frequent Democratic Committee kingpin, all-the-time lawyer and omnipresent roustabout.

I've admired brilliant people more than anyone, even more than the less-than-frequent cute girl who would find herself talking to me. I've been fortunate enough to talk with Dr. Wecht lots of times. During a conversation about a dozen years ago he complimented me on knowing a lot about his favorite subject: himself.

I've known about Dr. Wecht since the 1970's or 1980's when he was called in to investigate the deaths of (if I remember correctly) mummified babies a bizarre Gallitzen woman had in her attic at the time. Back then that was a story that garnered only local attention. Today it would be an international controversy.

Before that he was a dissenter of the “Magic Bullet” theory in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He's conducted more than 17,000 autopsies, theorized on countless others, and has been called in for almost every high-profile case there's been for more than 40 years.

It was his word I took when we heard that the jury came back with the O.J. Simpson decision. He was spot on with his conclusion.

In recent years he was targeted for wrongdoing by Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. Attorney under the G.W. Bush administration, who happens to be both a fellow California University of Pennsylvania alumnus and Republican. That's where most of our similarities end. I'm a part-time dink, while she's universally revered as a full-timer.

Anyhoo, Wecht was the guest of Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, at Norman's monthly “Versus” confab. The “debate” is mostly a liberal love-fest (this was Norman's second go-'round, the first being with South Side City Councilman Bruce Kraus), but with Wecht in attendance, the discussion turned more CSI than politics.

Wecht, who recently turned 80 but looks 20 years younger, jumped into action when Norman asked if his JFK assassination theory was hogwash. Wecht effortlessly grabbed a couple from the audience, moved their chairs and in-detail re-enacted the “Magic Bullet” theory better than Jerry dissected the “Magic Loogie” on “Seinfeld.” Wecht's mind remains flawless, and humor almost vaudevillian. The audience of about 80 was enthralled.

Wecht's theories are plentiful. He says that Elvis died of a toxic drug overdose and not from heart disease, O.J. did it, but not by himself, and most remarkably (at least to me) one of Robert Kennedy's bodyguards, Thane Eugene Cesar, accidentally shot the Presidential candidate, and not only Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. He opined that Jon Benet Ramsey's partners were involved in her still-mysterious murder, and motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker rigged his own suicide to look like murder in Harlem (a New York court found a man guilty of the murder in the case nevertheless)..

Norman served as a good host and the hour flew by more quickly than expected. Wecht is no wall flower. He said that the plethora of CSI shows are unrealistic in one distinction fashion: forensic pathology and detective work are two different careers and are not intertwined. That goes along well with the critics who used to say that Jack Klugman's “Quincy” was more nosey than authoritative.

Both Norman and the crowd were disappointed that they didn't touch much of politics. Wecht did blast multi-millionaires (of which he is one many times over) for taking all the money from poor people. He also complained that Marcellus Shale businessmen were raking in big bucks while new Governor Tom Corbett was slashing educational dollars from the budget. It was an extremely easy crowd to excite with such rhetoric. Reminder: Marcellus Shale money goes into job creation, for one. The cash isn't stockpiled in a room somewhere that no one will ever be able to access. The mill jobs aren't coming back to the South Side. There's a Cheesecake Factory there now.

At the conclusion of the night, both Norman and Wecht joked that no Republicans would be in the house. Meanwhile, one sat six feet away. I re-introduced myself to Norman afterward, in front of a couple of typical blue-collar yinzer Democrats who threatened to “string (me) up” upon overhearing my conversation. I retorted that it's always good to hear a tolerant Democrat, and they left, quietly.

Wecht was gone, halfway back to his Squirrel Hill abode. It was good to be back in a room with Wecht.

It was just like old times.

Pittsburgh Native Cuban To Enter Wrestling

by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist

A representative for Mark Cuban announced today that the businessman has agreed to purchase the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance for an undisclosed amount.

Purchasing the federation has been a top priority for Cuban since he was rebuffed from acquring the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team a few years ago, confirmed the unnamed source.

Reports indicated that Cuban was in attendance at a recent KSWA event and that the Pittsburgh native was the first to purchase a new Alex Arcadian tee shirt.

Initial sources claim that current KSWA Owner Bobby O was blown away when he contacted by Cuban's people. “We had no idea that Mark was in the audience,” said Bobby O. “We would have gave him a special shout out from the ring.”

Lately, Cuban has been interesting in branching out from different ventures. He currently owns the NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, and he's been featured on the TV Show “Shark Tank.”

Formerly, Cuban had dealing with the WWE. Cuban was a guest host when TV's “RAW” featured celebrity hosts, and he was even put through a table by one of the Superstars. He once had talks with Vince McMahon about starting a mixed martial arts league but that has since quieted.

Once acquired, Cuban plans to go ahead with plans to build a new wrestling venue. Nearly two years ago to the day it was announced that Allegheny County taxpayers would fund a wrestling arena near the current KSWA Arena in Lawrenceville. Expected cost overruns on the $200 million facility have temporarily grounded the project.

Officials close to the situation say that once the new venue is constructed, it will be home to the KSWA, as well as Cuban's fledgling MMA league, Pittsburgh Fight Club. He also hopes to hold quarterly demolition derbys featuring only Smart Cars. A former Dancing With the Stars contestent, Cuban is interested in bringing touring hoofers to the arena.

Leaders from the Pittsburgh area applaud Cuban's move, saying it allows Cuban to finally enter the city's bustling sports pantheon. Cuban had also shown interest in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey club and Roller Derby team in the past, only to be thwarted.

Sources close to the transaction say there is no timetable for the transaction and there's no word weather or not the billionaire with be in attendance at Mayhem at the Moose on May 7 at the Home of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh, the Lawrenceville Moose. Bell time is 7:30.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

KSWA And The Krazies: Who's Fulfilling Whose Dream?

When we got the email, we were all just a little surprised. One of our regulars, a 14 year-old girl I've mentioned before named Nicole, was having her Make-A-Wish Foundation dream fulfilled: her family was going to Disneyland. In her bio it mentioned that Nicole likes to watching “wrestling every month in the Lawrenceville Moose.”

Sometimes it shocks even us, how much our devotion to an industry, a sport, means to some of the “Krazies.”

Around that same time we got word that another Make-A-Wish recipient, Christopher, was having his dream met by meeting John Cena, undeniably the biggest “good guy” on the grandest stage. Cena was in town this past Monday, part of the TV show he is on weekly. Christopher met the gentleman, had some gear signed, and presumably had some pictures taken. It had to be a highlight of his young life. Heck, it would probably make me giddy!

We soon got word that Christopher would be coming to the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance as part of his extended “dream.” Arriving a short time before event time, he had the opportunity to meet the entire KSWA locker room, even guys who usually don't “have time for kids.” Sometimes even the meanest of bad guys have a soft spot for kids.

He received a brand new black folding chair, decorated with gray signatures from the KSWA Megastars. And me. Laugh out loud.

Christopher met everyone, first with a slight look of disappointment. Remember, he had just met Cena, a 240 mound of muscle who looks like a Humvee compared to most of his colleagues. But once he got to wear “Ice Man” Tony Johnson's Jr. Heavyweight Championship belt, Christopher brightened up. Christopher brought his pal Tyler to the event and they took pics with all the wrestlers. Christopher smiled in most pictures. In some, Tyler looked like he was being held hostage. Christopher received a bunch of wrestling toys and tee shirts from Alex Arcadian and KSWA Hall of Famer Frank Durso.

Soon, Christopher was asked to be the guest time keeper for a semi-final match in the penultimate Joe Abby Memorial Tournament. Nearly 300 people in attendance cheered for him.

The youngster bad mouthed “The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard and the five-time former KSWA Champion trash-talked back. Then something amazing happened. Christopher tossed his Frank Durso tee shirt onto the floor and he started to grind his foot into the black cotton. Those who saw the display, including me, laughed. Here a young man, facing physical and medical problems, smiling, happy and displaying pep. It was a moment I'll soon not forget.

When the match was over, Christopher was for thanked for being a special time keeper and he raced back to his family, slapping hands just as he did when he was asked to join my table. His Dad beamed from ear to ear.

Throughout the night, Christopher could be seen hooting and hollering, having a grand time. At the end of the evening, autographs everywhere, Christopher came over and excitedly exclaimed, “I'll be back.”

Those three little words, “I'll be back,” sometimes shake us to the core a little more than those other, more infamous “three little words.” There are times when loved ones, our closest friends, look down on what we do as “professional wrestlers.” Then there are wheelchair-bound, teenage girls who roar in approval when they see us. Then there are young boys who cheer for the winner of our Joe Abby Tournament and proudly carry an autographed chair out of the KSWA Arena at the Lawrenceville Moose.

“I'll be back.” I'll take that any day.