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God, Sports, & ProWrestling

A journey through the life of an aspiring youth pastor, sports broadcaster, and possible pro-wrestler.

The Notorious C.B.C.

After a caption on a throwback ringside photo of a young Sasha Banks (most likely brought to the show by the newest inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame and her cousin, Snoop Dogg)  parodied “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. – reading “It was all a dream, I used to read WWE Magazine” – led to someone in the comments creating their own version of nearly the entire first verse, I couldn’t help myself but to reignite my rap career and finish my version of the entire song.

Yes… Collin The Brain has made his return to the world of hip-hop… For now.

Up until the verse about John Cena, all credit goes to that random guy in the comments section of the latest photo posted by Sasha, but the rest came from my brain (no pun intended).

I’ll leave you to look up the original lyrics to Biggie Smalls’ iconic hit due to language which some of my peers wouldn’t appreciate – I will have you know that this version is 100% clean… unless you for some reason have a deep hatred for professional wrestling… in your case it’s as explicit as it gets.

It was all a dream I used to read WWE magazine
Stone Cold and The Rock in a wrestling ring.
Hangin’ pictures on my wall, every Saturday
shotgun Saturday night with the King and J.R.
I let my WWE music soundtrack rock til my CD popped.
Watch the Big Show getting beat by Rock N Sock.
Way back when I had the black and red nWo shirt with the hat to match.
Remember Rappin’ Cena the da da da da, you never thought John Cena would make it this far
Now he’s in lime light cause he rhymes tight.
Brock Lesnar gettin’ paid
Yeah here comes the pain.
Sasha Banks got big at 23, used to come to the shows with the D O double G.
American Dream with kings and queens like a winner,
Son of a plumber in alleys with pork and beans for dinner.
Peace to Bill G, Eric B, Kid 1-2-3
Funk Brothers with Paul E. Dangerously.
Bought you out, never thought Vinny would,
Get rid, same stuff’s no good
Fans misunderstood.

I learned that it’s alright to cheat,
Tricking the referee like Eddie G.
And pay per view wasn’t cheap, now watch the network all day,
Dude Love, it’s the Foley way.
Shane-O and Stephanie keepin’ it busy
Fighting with their dad way to risky
Against each other at the biggest show in the company.
I never thought I’d still be watching this rasslin’ stuff,
Stick with it even though it’s getting rough.
Now the legends in a house telling stories in a roast.
From a territory over on the east coast,
Live in glory, at the peak
Sell out seats to RAW every week.
Now there’s a new face of fear
4 Wyatts who don’t care if you cheer.
Lunges, punches, interviews with fools.
Considered cool when no holds barred, no rules.
Handshakes of a black man misunderstood
Suspended but it’s all good.

Samoa Joe was on TNA Genesis
He was dead broke, couldn’t get paid like he wished.
NXT screen, looking mean, ain’t no joke.
Got two tries, win a match with Finn Bálor.
Regal, no longer throwing knees on the mat
No need to worry, general manager done with that.
Rumor Bulletproof is coming,
Stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling
Thinking back on Shane O’Mac,
Now a job in H-I-A-C, he has come back
Anything he jumps off, of course,
Go through glass or through tables, no remorse.
Ric Flair rides in limousines not a bus
No heat, wonder why Eva Marie just must.
New Day is the best way
They clap and show the power of positivit-ay
I’ll watch as long as I live,
Cause it’s good to watch even if it gets predicted
Yeah, it’s still…
It’s still good.

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The Greatest Creation of All

Nothing compares to music when it comes to variety, and with the exception of covers, no one song is the same as another. Dating back over 55,000 years, it is one of the oldest art forms in existence. In my opinion, music is by far the greatest thing to come from mankind.

There are thousands of different types, or genres, of music. There’s rock, pop, rap, and orchestral just to name some of the most common. Hans Christian Anderson is quoted saying “Where words fail, music speaks.” Often times, when someone can’t find the words to say, they use music. Music comes in every language and every kind and can speak to anyone. Due to the many varieties, people can find what kind they enjoy and understand; they can find what speaks to them. I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t enjoy some sort of music.

Artists have used the form of music in attempts to change society; one of the most notable and controversial of these is 1980s rock band Living Colour. Not only did they become somewhat of renegades becoming a colored (skin, clothing, and name) rock band, but they created their lyrics to be both personal and political, stating opinions on worldviews and matters within the present-day-America. The band’s hit song “Type” blasted stereotypes, and their later album Stain addressed multiple issues in songs like “Go Away,” “Leave It Alone,” and “Mind Your Own Business.”

I have two younger siblings at home under the age of ten and more often than not I don’t exactly enjoy hearing their bickering and squealing. With music, I easily block this out by putting in a pair of headphones and cranking up the volume.

Music can be used to express, entertain, or even block out the rest of the world. It is hard to believe that there was once a world without music, as I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like. I think it would be depressing to say the least. In the words of Bob Marley, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

Just for the heck of it, and to remind you of how great music is, here is one of my favorite songs (it’s impossible to pick just one).

Ladies & Gentlemen My Name (Unfortunately) Is (Not) Paul Heyman

In my sports management class, I had to perform a “professional interview” with someone in our position of interest. Already having to speak to a minister for another class (and this being a sports class), I figured I’d go the wrestling route and to live up to the slogan of “go big or go home” because I was told to do so. Although that indy wrestler I met at the NXT show would have been a great choice, I went with “The One Behind the One in 22-1”. Yes, I actually did get to speak, over the phone, with Paul Heyman. It was actually quite easy – I simply went to his website (HeymanHustle.com) and to the “Contact Us” page (what every real website has) expecting some random, totally irrelevant person to answer whom I’d have to ask to speak to Paul and probably get a bold “no.” Surprisingly, the call was answered by none other than “The Advocate for ‘The Beast Incarnate,’ ‘The Conquerer,’ Brock Lesnar”. Knowing that there is a possibility of not being privileged to become a big time wrestler I decided to explore other opportunities in the wrestling world and thought “why not ask a guy that’s done it all.”

Anyways, if you’re reading this then you probably have an idea of who this guy is so why continue introducing him. Here’s the interview with questions my professor came up with but still got me lengthy, worthy of mentioning answers.

  1. What are your current job responsibilities / expectations?

“I have the easiest job in the world because I have to talk about someone (Brock Lesnar) who is authentic and legitimate and is someone I truly believe in.” He notes that being “authentic” is important to this role and he finds that it “comes easy when you truly believe in what you are saying.” He added that the level of interactivity with fans can be important for characters. He reinforced this statement with “I introduce myself when I come out to the ring not as a gimmick and not a catchphrase. It’s for a reason because I feel I need to actually let viewers know who I am. For one, I don’t know who is watching for the first time and two, it simply sets the scene and I don’t just immediately start rambling. It gives an introduction.” He reflected on a story from last year that came off as both funny and harsh when mentioning competitors Lesnar’s future opponent could defeat. A fan called him out for not mentioning Andre the Giant; he reacted to the fan by yelling into the microphone “that’s because he’s dead, stupid.” “I felt the guy had a good point so I interacted with him and did my job as a heel (bad guy in professional wrestling).”

2.  Describe the path to your current job.

“I started as a photographer at the age of 13 after I saw Vince McMahon interview “Superstar” Billy Graham. I watched in amazement, he was vibrant and alive and I immediately thought ‘that’s what I want to do’. I knew that wasn’t going to get me on the inside and I read in a free newspaper’s column on sports figures that Vincent James McMahon used to get his hair cut at the Warwick Hotel every Monday that they ran Madison Square Garden and then after the show would shut down Ben Benson’s Steakhouse and would take some of his closest colleagues to this steakhouse in Manhattan. So, I found the phone number for the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and introduced myself as the ‘publisher and editor of The Wrestling Times magazine’ and told them I’d run into McMahon at the steakouse where he promised me my press pass for Madison Square Garden and I was totally full of crap [he definitely used a different word here]. This became my first hustle. I went to MSG in a cab and walked into the photographers’ room in the back and lay low until showtime. At fourteen years old I had B.S.ed my way into the locker room, I’m behind the scenes; I’m in. So now I’m traveling from city to city taking pictures of all the matches, getting to know people in the industry. The head creative director of Jim Crockett Promotions, at the time, is Dusty Rhodes. I flew to the Carolinas to cover the television tapings. I saw a sign in the locker room that stated ‘production meeting at 2:00’. I put my ball cap down over my eyes and snuck into this production meeting, sitting in the back row, all the way to the right. I just wanted to learn Dusty’s way of writing and producing television because I’d always been around the McMahons. In walks Dusty to run this meeting and later he catches me, takes me in the hall and in a very uncomfortable confrontation asked what I was doing there. I told him I wanted to learn from him and he replied saying ‘well you’re learning from the best’ and let me back in like nothing happened. At a bar after another show I met a guy from Studio 54 fire one of his photographers so I went over and asked him if he needed a new one and said enthusiastically ‘well I’m your guy!’” Later Heyman settled in as an announcer before being told to become a manager, later doing so on a bigger scale at World Championship Wrestling, then founded Eastern/Extreme Championship Wrestling alongside Jim Crockett, Jr., went back to being a commentator in 2001 for, at the time, WWF, became lead writer for WWE’s “SmackDown” show in 2002 and managed Brock Lesnar until 2003 when he became on-screen General Manager until 2004 for the same show, became head booker and writer for Ohio Valley Wrestling from 2005 to 2006 before reviving the now defunct ECW under WWE and Vince McMahon. He was fired after a dispute and later returned in 2012 as on on-screen manager to names like CM Punk, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Cesaro, and again, and to this day, Brock Lesnar.

3.  On a scale of (Want a new job!) 1 to 10 (Love it!) how would you rank your current job?             Why?

“I give it a solid ten.” He said he loves almost every second of it and threw out that due to Lesnar’s contract having limited dates it is part-time.

4.  What are the things you like the most about your current job?

He added again that it is part-time. “Otherwise I can’t really explain exactly why. I’m doing what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a child watching Billy Graham for the biggest and most popular wrestling promotion in the world on live television in front of millions of people. I get to go out there and do and say practically whatever I want.”

5.  What are the things you like the least about your current job?

“Not getting enough TV time and Vince McMahon still being upset with some of the things I say, leading to some arguments.”

6.  Do you hope to move to another job / position in the future? Why or why not?

“No. If I am to lose this position then I honestly don’t know if I’d like to retire or find something else to do, but at the moment if Lesnar were to leave I’d like to find the next “Paul Heyman Guy” to manage and take to the next level. I never walk through that curtain with anyone I don’t want to push as a main eventer and world champion. If I see those qualities in someone I’ll continue doing what I do with someone else.”

7.  Has your faith / relationship with God affected your career choices and direction? If so               what?

“Although the son of two extraordinary, Jewish human beings, one [his mother] a Holocaust survivor I’d honestly have to say not at all. I can’t say God hasn’t probably helped me but I haven’t seeked Him much, often finding my own way to get what I want and to pursue my dream. Life is a different story but when it comes to the wrestling business I often take my own roads and paths.”

8.  Do you have any regrets about your career choices and direction? If so what?

“If I believed in living with regrets, I’d say I regret ECW not lasting as long as I wanted nor becoming as big as I wanted, even though it was still a global phenomenon, I wanted to out-do WCW and WWE, thus the reason I didn’t want to do traditional pro-wrestling and went with the hardcore, blood, violence, and real, great wrestling.”

9.  What advice would you have for me if I would want to get the same job / type of job that             you have?

“Do whatever you have to do to get in the doors and behind the scenes, even if it’s as simple as buying a VIP ticket and finding the right people rather than being the typical fan and walking around in amazement.”

Just a little extra for the ones that took time to read this, when I asked what he thought former managers like Captain Lou Albano, Freddy Blassie, or Bobby Heenan – some of the greatest of all time – if they were still alive or able to be in the business would do or think watching his promos, he replied “With all due respect, I think they would pay attention and take notes.”

Though a total jerk on television (I dig the heel characters) and found annoying by some, I found Paul Heyman (Paul E. Dangerouly, whatever you want to call him) to be a pretty cool, down to earth but still sarcastic (and as loud, entertaining, and hyper as he is on television) guy and actually gave me the honor of having non-interview assignment conversations like the one mentioned above.

Wrestling with the Dream

It all started when I was four years old. I remember the exact time, event, place, and date; ironically I don’t even remember half of these for the day I was baptized.

It was Tuesday, August 6, 2002 at around 10:50 P.M. at World Wrestling Entertainment’s “SmackDown”. Now you may be wondering, “How can this event that seems so meaningless and boring to a normal person be so important to another?” That reason is because I decided what my dream was – I wanted to be in that same ring, I wanted to make people – especially kids like myself at the time – feel the same excitement and passion that I felt.

I decided I wanted to be a professional wrestler or find my way onto WWE television somehow.

Though I had been watching professional wrestling ever since I even knew what a television was, this was the first time I had actually traveled to see an event live. One of the greatest factors in going was the fact of Hulk Hogan facing Brock Lesnar in the main event of the show. My dad, being a lifelong fan of his childhood hero in Hogan, decided to take my step-brother and I, two Lesnar fans, to see it. I loved every moment, remember exactly what happened in that match, and I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere of my surroundings, especially the crowd.

The crowd is the most important thing when it comes to the wrestling business. The biggest company, then and still to this day was and is WWE, all because of the crowd sizes. They hold attendance records all across the world while other companies struggle to fill the gym of an elementary school. Since that day of sitting in the stands and seeing what became one of the most iconic and legendary became matches in wrestling history, I wanted to sell out stadiums and coliseums and be the factor of breaking world attendance records. I was fascinating to me how two guys can draw tens of thousands of people into a crowd to see a fight with a planned finish. In the years to come, I became terrified of a guy in a red and black mask named Kane who’s entrance involved exploding pyrotechnics and I promised myself I’d never go again as long as he was around.

He’s still around, and scares me even more so because he no longer wears a mask. I’ll leave that story at I now know see why they made him wear it.

Despite that fact, however, Kane didn’t stop me from going back to Richmond Coliseum for WWE’s better, live Monday night show, RAW on December 30 of 2013. That night, Brock Lesnar, the same guy that put my butt in a seat near twelve years earlier, made a triumphant and unexpected return. He strutted to the ring and put Mark Henry, a former winner of the “World’s Strongest Man” competition, through the announcers table. Yet another story that seems totally irrelevant to me, but trust me when I tell you, the level of relevance here is at a high point.

Remember that electricity of excitement I mentioned feeling earlier? It was even stronger this time, not only because I was old enough to know what the heck was actually going on, but because that childhood dream came true in a way when my arms, raised in excitement, were clearly seen in the background of that segment of the show.

Yes, seeing my arms on a huge video screen and later a television was enough for me to be more than excited. Not only that, but because Brock let out a terrifyingly high pitched battle cry at the same exact time, my raised arms were immortalized in parody videos of “Trouble” by Taylor Swift and many other bad songs that include high pitched squeals.

That night became the first of three of my cameo appearances on the television shows that host my dream job.

In July of 2014, during a segment much less relevant and exciting compared to the others, I made a triumphant return of my own to WWE television, seen in a yellow shirt behind a podium during a segment involving a huge Bulgarian and a former two time All American amateur wrestler. Surprisingly, it wasn’t my yellow shirt that stood out, but my step dad doing some sort of dance, raising his arms and moving side to side in what has now been deemed “the Shannon shimmy.” Though he didn’t become as famous as my arms did a little over six months before, everyone we knew started blowing up our phones stating “I just saw you on TV!” or asking “What was that!?”

In my last and most recent appearance, I had no idea I was even on the big screen until I got a text from a friend with a clip of me yelling at a guest commentator sitting less than 10 feet away from me. Supposedly I was spotted quite a few times, much less exciting in manner but if that is all the TV time God is going to give me, then so be it.

At times I see it as a conspiracy theory, I feel that the guys working the cameras are on to me and are teasing me with what’s to come, looking for me each time I buy a ticket to see a show. Sometimes I see it as God pointing it out to everyone else that “you’ll see this guy again on a grander scale!” At other times I might look at it as pointless luck that has no other meaning to it than coincidentally being on TV.

Although I feel a calling to go into the ministry as well and didn’t know God at all when my childhood dream came about, looking back I see it as another call. Whatever He has planned, if I get to be on-screen more often, whether it continue to be as a fan or if I become a color commentator or even wrestler, I’ll look at the experiences I have had going to these events as blessings and continue to cherish the humorous, exciting memories that came with each and every single one of them. Honestly, if I could choose, I’d be wrestling with a headset on calling my own matches right now, because that childhood dream doesn’t just linger in the past, but lives on in the form of a raging fire today. Whether I have to have a match in front of even as little ten people in a high school to get there or do commentary for a highly anticipated match, my ultimate goal is to go and sell out an iconic arena like Madison Square Garden or perform in my home state of Virginia at Richmond Coliseum or most certainly my hometown of Charlottesville at the John Paul Jones Arena. Childhood dreams can be more than just dreams; all you have to do is continue chasing them beyond your childhood days and make them reality.

My Call – The Calling of Once Certainty Transitioned to Now Confusion

My youth pastor, Clay Marsh, has been an influence in my life practically since I started going to church when I was about eight. Though I went to the children’s program, and even stayed in the service to listen to the sermon every now and then, the only person I actually payed attention to other than my pastor – Bill Willis – when they were speaking the word of God was Clay. There was no personal vendetta against the rest of the Sunday school teachers or people in the church, I just hadn’t caught on to how this God worked quite yet, and there was just some sort of connection with the two to listen when they spoke.

I saw this as the biggest sign for quite a while – the sign to become a youth pastor. I thought all kids were like me, and didn’t really connect with the Lord until their teenage years in the youth group, and looking forward, after spending quite some time at the altar at a winter retreat, I felt that God was telling me that He wanted me to be one of the many people that do just that: lead those teenagers into the life of following Christ. Although it has all seemed so clear to me for years, my call is beginning to become a blur once again. Not only do I feel a calling into youth ministry, but a calling to become a lead pastor.

While I feel the rest of the youth need guidance as much as I did, and still do, the adults of the world need it just as much if not more, as they are the ones leading the rest of the world – including the youth. Thinking about it, a preacher can just as much influence youth just as a youth pastor can, after all I looked up to my pastor as well, and they are there to guide everyone. At the same time that I love working with youth, I feel like I should lead everyone to be like Christ. Then again, I can still do that while working in the youth ministry – any minister can help anyone in their walk with Christ, they just have different positions in the ministry.

While these two totally separate callings practically fight one another over which I’m being called to, I have chosen to be a sports broadcaster and maybe even evolve through that to become a professional wrestler. As much as I am joking when I say it, I’m also serious in questioning whether I could change the entire world preaching the word while on that path, thus becoming a sports missionary (I have officially coined this term) or something of the sort.

Although my call always seemed so clear and easy to understand, as I said before, it has become one big ball of confusion where there is no longer any certainty. What can Professor Green pray for? I ask that you pray for the same thing I have been asking for, and that is for that certainty of what my calling is to take to make its triumphant return.

One particular song that has caught my attention lately and I can listen to over and over again is Clocks by Coldplay. The verse that stands out to me says:

“Confusion that never stops, the closing walls and the ticking clocks gonna come back and take you home, I could not stop, that you now know.”

I have interpreted this as: “though there is confusion, time will take me where I need to go” and the other two lines tell me “do not stop searching for that call because God knows what He’s doing.” This verse, coming from a song not even by a Christian artist, has spoken to and helped me in many ways, and it shows that our awesome God can speak to us through anything.

Whether the process continues to be slow or I am blessed with a “call experience”, I know God has something in store, and I’m prepared to take any path he wants me to.

Seven Facts that Fortify Our Faith

This past Sunday, while Pastor Bill was on vacation, Pastor Tracy came to ole’ C’ville to deliver God’s message during our service.

The message he sent was a great one, telling his story of what he believed and used to help him through a tough time.

This is a total recap of his message put into my own words, for those who didn’t hear, and for those who want to hear (in this case read) it again.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

— John 16:33

I can’t make it happen on here, but the letters in this verse should be red (the use of quotation marks comes in handy here), indicating of course that it was said by Jesus.

Jesus never said that just because we believe and follow Him that life as we know it would be perfect.

Pastor Tracy followed this up by stating “you’re either in a problem, coming out of a problem, or going into a problem; Jesus said you will have trouble.”

His words sum up John 16:33 perfectly, whether we like it, or even notice it, or not, we are always in a trouble of some sort, but with the help and love of Christ, we get through every single problem.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment that torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

— Luke 6:46-49

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

— Matthew 7:26-27

“When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”

In this passage, we are not the men building the houses, we are the houses themselves. The foundation (or in the second case, lack there of) is Jesus Christ and our trust and relationship with Him.

With a good relationship with Christ, a foundation of rock, not a light relationship of sand or none at all,  we won’t be shaken – He will help us through every single problem.

In more of the wise words of Tracy, “crushing problems don’t have to crush you,” and they really don’t, we let them crush us when we choose to do it our way and don’t depend on God.

“Christianity is not a blind faith – it is built on strong & powerful evidence.”

— Pastor Tracy

Following that quote is the signal to go over that evidence, the seven facts that fortified his faith and should fortify all of our faith in Christ.

  1. The greatest evidence of God is creation.

This was my personal favorite part of the message, where Pastor Tracy went on to describe a Christian side of the argument of evolution, saying that evolutionists refuse to believe there is something out there that created everything and that “everything came from nothing”.

Brutally honest and possibly unpopular opinion of the day – I find evolution as a complete joke – more of a joke than evolutionists think that of God – and refuse to believe that we were monkeys, especially since monkeys, gorillas, etc. are nowhere near extinct – with how many people there are on the earth today, there is no way they wouldn’t be long gone.

Everything you see didn’t come from nothing – it is weird to me to even type that sentence because it doesn’t even make sense – it came from God or something made by God, so even if it is somehow that we did evolve from monkeys – God made those monkeys, and the first person made from one of those monkeys was Adam, whom God created.

Another verse used in the message explains it perfectly:

“since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools”

Romans 1:19-22

2.  The greatest book that was ever written is the Bible.

The reasoning for this was explained because of its:

  • unique popularity
  • unique accuracy
  • unique survival – after many attempts of being forgotten and destroyed
  • and fulfilled prophecies.

3.  The greatest man who ever lived is Jesus.

  • He has healed many un-heal-able diseases.
  • He predicted his death, who would be crucified with him, and his resurrection exactly.
  • He rose from the dead.
  • I’m going to stop here, because there is no reason to go on – He’s Jesus!

4.  The impact of Jesus’ disciples.

  • The only one I’m going to point out is Noah – if he and his family hadn’t been so strong in his faith, Jesus wouldn’t have anyone to carry on creation and would have to basically start from scratch again.

5.  The impact of Christianity on history.

  • Christianity is the largest religion in the world.
  • Not all philosophers “became fools” –  just look at all the greats here.

6.  The impact of (and on) people I/we know.

7.  The impact of (and on) my/our experiences.

In the instances that happen with the listed, especially numbers six & seven, Pastor Tracy couldn’t have described them better, and I’ll end it on this note, when he said “they’re not coincidences – they’re Godcidences.”

Be Yourself

Being ourselves around other people is a very difficult thing to do. We feel we need to do things that wouldn’t offend anyone else, especially when in public.

Sometimes we make it a necessity to be a “people-pleaser”.

“I did some research,” as Clay says, and looked up the definition of a people-pleaser and came up with this:

“People pleasers let high expectations, resentment, and saying ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no’ run (and potentially ruin) their social lives. They are set on being perfect and nice.”

I was once a people pleaser until about 2 years ago when I decided I wasn’t going to care what people thought about what I did around them, especially when in public where obviously not everyone is a Christian.

Recently at the beach, which is really a lake a block from my house, I was writing “graffiti” in the sand, consisting of Bible verses, and Straight Edge (a drug & alcohol free lifestyle I live) sayings.

One thing I wrote was a mixture of both and said this:

“God’s for winners, drugs are for losers.” – A somewhat harsh statement in some people’s eyes that could definitely offend someone.

As I finished up writing I realized a man in around his mid-30s was watching me.

I was listening to music through my headphones and heard him in the background say “what are you writing?”

I told him and he showed the most excitement I’ve seen someone show in a while – it was even more touching to me because he sure didn’t seem like the type of guy to go around starting conversations with people.

He gave me a high-five, asked where my parents were and when I told him they weren’t there he said he wanted to congratulate them. He then called his daughter over to show her, and then went over to tell his wife whom was ironically enough smoking.

Later, I walked home to grab my Bible and my laptop to write what you’re reading now.

As I walked across the sand back to my towel, one of the friends he was with asked “is that him?” and the man whom had talked to me earlier said “yeah, he’s amazing.”

As I humbly continued onward to my spot, pretending I didn’t hear them, a smile understandingly came across my face.

Me being myself at the beach, just showing boredom really and writing in the sand fascinated and touched this man, a man I’d never even met before.

It just shows how being you doesn’t always offend people, but enlightens them, which, at least to me, is the best feeling in the world.

A man name Bartimaeus (I’m going to call him Bart) is mentioned in Mark chapter 10.

Bart was blind, but he knew Jesus could make him see again. He sat on the side of the road begging. When Jesus came by, Bart called out to Him. Despite people telling him to be quiet, Bart continued what he had been doing, being himself, and kept calling. He knew what he needed to do for himself. He needed Jesus, and no one could stop him. He knew Jesus could change his whole life for the best, and of course, He did.

If Bart hadn’t have been himself and had been quiet when the people told him to, Jesus may have never heard him, and may have walked on by him.

In this case, Bart showed that being yourself can not only help others, but help you too.

That’s the entire point of this message, being yourself, showing Christ no matter where you are, and eventually, Jesus will pay you back for it, whether it be in a way like me, and telling you that you can inspire other people, or it be like Bart, and be in a way that helps you personally.

Being ourselves is not only hard like I said earlier, but it’s one of the most important things in life.

Trying to be someone we’re not will not only hurt us and confuse other people, but it fails to please God – and that isn’t one of the most important thing in our lives – it’s the single most important thing in and for our lives.

Mark 10:45 says “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

If you didn’t already know, “The Son of Man” is Jesus, it’s a name exclusively used by Jesus for Himself, none of the disciples called him by it.

Anyways, this exemplifies exactly how we should live.

For my final thoughts for today, I ask you to do this; don’t live to be served, but to serve – to serve the One True King, Jesus, and return the favor.

Citizenship of a Best Friend


Could the picture above be a glimpse of Big G & I in 20 years?

I could see it.

When I met Galen Reed, I just knew him as the brother of Karen Snyder, and had never even seen him before until our trip with the youth group to Kingsfest at Kings Dominion last year.

On the trip, I still had little contact with him and didn’t see him much (I didn’t see much of anyone, even if I was with them).

I have no idea when it was or how it happened, but it was just all of a sudden, we clicked, and were almost immediately the best of friends.

At church camp a few weeks ago, the friendship grew stronger within the presence of God (if you read “At Camp, God’s The Champ, and Friendships Are Just As Real As He Is” you know this story).

However, there is a deeper side to that story, my rapper nickname became Collin “The Brain” and Galen’s was, well, I bet you guessed already, his normal nickname, “Big G”.

I didn’t see this as a normal combination of two friends acting like goofs when I came up with the name for myself.

The name of “The Brain” came from the big guy-little guy combination. My wrestling mastermind immediately thought of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, one of the greatest voices and the single greatest manager in the history of the wrestling business, and Andre the Giant, who needs no explanation.

When I entered the talent show with “Slick” Nick Willis, I kept the name not only as a tribute to Bobby Heenan, but to the relationship I had with Big G.

Whenever I went up to the altar to pray with my buddies whom had gone up, G was already there, and had beat me to it; but he wasn’t just praying with our “squad”, he went down practically the entire altar, praying or not, uplifting fellow students.

This of course led to him winning the Citizenship Award on the last day, which was mentioned and explained in the camp post linked above.

“Big G” Galen Reed has proven to me that he is a true (in the words of Clay Marsh) “God-friend” whom is worthy of all my respect. I have been honored and privileged to know him like a brother for the past year or so and hope to be blessed with many more to come. If you ever get the chance to meet him (you can’t miss him, he’s well over 6′ tall) take that opportunity, and he will most likely bless your heart as much as he has mine and many others within our church family.

Baron Corbin – from Football Player to Hated Wrestler

Baron Corbin – real name Thomas Pestock – was a football player in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. He was released by them on August 13 of 2009, and resigned six days later on August 19 only to be released again less than a month later on September 5.

Corbin later got a futures contract with the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2010, only to be released by them on September 3 and signed to the practice team on the sixth. He was released once again on September 2 of 2011 – clearly he is very unlucky during September.

With no prior experience whatsoever, he later signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2012 and made his TV debut on the May 8, 2013 edition of NXT, losing to Damien Sandow of all people.

He then made appearances a jobber – someone set to lose every match they’re put in to make their more popular opponent look good – until May 8, 2014.

A repackaged (made to have a new gimmick or character) Corbin returned on September 11, 2014 at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way where he defeated CJ Parker.

From there he began a totally different, completely opposite career – getting put in matches against only jobbers and squashing every one of them and, with the crowd counting, beating them in usually less than 20 seconds. I’m pretty sure he’s lost only three, if not less, matches since then.

This is the Baron Corbin that I’ve seen – the dominant, boring, Baron Corbin who gets literally “15 seconds of fame” on a weekly basis.

Last night on the July 15, 2015 edition of NXT (exclusively on the WWE Network for just $9.99), he unofficially made his debut with yet another new character via a promotional video. This time, it’s a character very, very easy to hate. The perfect heel (bad guy) – a guy that you hate so much that you believe he shouldn’t succeed in any way. Usually, that’s a good thing, that’s why they’re a heel, but with this gimmick, it’s a terrible thing.

I say this and I’m one that is usually on the side of the heels.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find the video outside of the WWE Network (did I mention it was only $9.99?). Basically, it’s him bashing every other guy on the roster saying he’s the only one that deserves anything and explaining how they performed in gyms in front of 100 or less people and got paid with concession food while he was in the NFL, performing in front of thousands and getting paid “in bigger checks than they’ll ever see.”

Like I said earlier, being hated when you’re playing the part is usually a good thing, but when you’re pointing out that you didn’t work to get into the wrestling business and trying to make it a positive, it’s the worst thing you can possibly do. Yes, you’re still hated, but not in the way your character wants to be.

Here is a guy who played in the NFL for less than a full year, was a mediocre player that no one ever heard of unless they were a die-hard Colts fan, and was released about five times. He’s trying to make that sound good, and in the process bashing & insulting guys that worked 15+ years just to get to the WWE, haven’t accomplished but so much, and think they deserve more.
Corbin pointed out that they worked in gyms to get paid a hot dog.

THAT’S JUST IT.

They worked to get where they are and didn’t care about the money. They just wanted to wrestle.

Corbin is bragging about football.

I’ve always hated when guys come I’m without any wrestling experience whatsoever, but when they make their character brag about it, there isn’t even a word to describe how much I despise them, especially when they can’t even make a 20 second match look good!

The new gimmick for Baron Corbin was a terrible idea and is just going to cause yet another career to go into a downward spiral and give us another Zack Ryder or Damien Sandow (not Macho Mandow – the stunt double gimmick and the Mega Powers are pure gold!).

Whether you want to call it a rant, a complaint, or an act of passionate defense for the business, the fact stands true – I officially hate Baron Corbin.

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