March 1, 2014 marks the seventh year anniversary of the passing of my good friend Jody Kinard - known to many "Wrestling News Live" fans as JSK.
JSK lost a battle with cancer in 2007. Not a day or week goes by that I don't think about JSK and the fun I had working alongside him. He was always kind, genuine and respectful towards me and anyone that was a listener of WNL.
His passing was the first time that someone I was friends with or close to passed away in my life. The outpouring of text messages, phone calls and message board posts let me know that I wasn't alone in my friendship with JSK.
Beginning in 2008, I made a promise to post the same article I ran the day after his passing in 2007 each year on the first of March. It was my small way of always keeping the memory of JSK alive all these years later.
It's almost fitting that today (March 1, 2014) I will be attending a WWE live event in Cedar Rapids. JSK was a huge wrestling fan and I'm happy that I get to enjoy one of his favorite past times this evening.
It was an honor to call him a friend. We miss you buddy.
Originally posted on Friday, March 2, 2007
Five years ago, I joined an internet wrestling radio show called Wrestling News Live with two great guys - the Trey Dawg and JSK. It was a small radio show with three unique hosts. The Trey Dawg (always having an opinion about something in wrestling), JSK (the "old school" wrestling fan at heart) and myself, the news guy (or the funky white boy as they liked to call me) from Wrestleview.com.
Five years later, that small show has grown into a big show forming a partnership with Wrestleview.com, being featured on the popular Audiowrestling.com internet wrestling radio network and winning "Show of the Year" and "Host of the Year" awards two years in a row.
A year ago we hit a bump in the road when it was discovered that host JSK had cancer. No matter how serious the situation, JSK assured us he would kick the cancer's ass and be back as usual on the show. Little by little, JSK's appearances on the show started to become rare. One month ago I knew things were about to change drastically - I was told that the doctors could do nothing more for JSK and that he had as little as a month left to live.
I had only met JSK three times in my life.
The first time was in September of 2003 when I visited Branson to take part in an independent wrestling event featuring Tracy Smothers, TNA's Chris Harris, former TNA star Ryan Wilson (now with WWE) and many others. Even though I had never met JSK before, we had formed a friendship through Wrestling News Live for well over a year and he treated me like I was just another one of his good friends. When I walked into the bar we were performing in that night with Trey, I walked up and noticed JSK right away (he was pretty hard to miss standing at 6'8"). I'll never forget slapping the big guy on his shoulder and seeing a big smile on his face. He thanked me for coming and I was glad I did. That was a pretty tough night for me as I got thrown into the ring as a referee for the first half of the show and openly admitted to the wrestlers that I didn't know what the hell I was doing out there. After the show, I took a ride in JSK's truck on the way to the hotel to hang out with the wrestlers. Even though I thought I sucked it up, he let me know that I worked my ass off and that it was great I got a chance to visit.
The next time I saw JSK was in September of 2005, exactly two years to the month after I had last hung out with the WNL crew. We all decided to take a trip to Orlando, Florida to check out TNA's Unbreakable PPV that year on September 11. In addition to that being one of the most memorable dates in the history of the United States, it also happened to be JSK's birthday. We had fun celebrating in a sports bar the night before the PPV just hanging out and shooting the shit. I could tell it meant a lot to him that we were all there for his birthday and having fun that weekend for a big wrestling Pay Per View. Even though he hated me later that night when I was the first to tell him that my Dallas Cowboys beat his San Diego Chargers during the opening week of the NFL, he still had a big smile on his face as it was a fun day for all of us.
The next time I saw JSK was in July of 2006. I visited the Springfield, Missouri area on vacation and was looking forward to getting to finally do an edition of Wrestling News Live where I was "in studio" with Trey and JSK. Although JSK did join us for the first part of the show, he was really losing his voice by that time and looked a lot different since the last time I had saw him. By this point, he had completely shaved his head and had been going through Chemotherapy for quite some time. He ended up having to go to bed earlier that night because he wasn't feeling good, but we shook hands and he thanked me for coming down to visit.
That would be the last time I would see JSK.
I woke up yesterday morning to discover that JSK (Jody Kinard) had passed away with his family in Arkansas around 4:00am. It was one of those times where I literally froze. I had attempted to come to terms with the fact that he was only going to have a month left to live a few weeks ago, but in the back of my mind I knew he was going to fight as hard as he could.
I came to find out later that JSK wasn't always telling me the truth every time I talked to him on the phone and would ask him how he was doing. He didn't want me or anyone else worrying about him.
The Trey Dawg said it best in that the most positive thing to come out of this hard situation right now is that JSK is no longer in pain and that he is in a better place now. Probably the most powerful thing I heard was when Trey informed me that he spoke to JSK not long ago asking him what he wanted us to do with the show (Wrestling News Live). JSK told Trey to keep doing it because he would still be listening.
Even though JSK was much older than me, he always treated me with respect and had a knack about saying some of the funniest things at the most perfect time (or even at the most random times) on the show. He could bring the entertainment factor to the show, while also bring a strong sense of "old school" wrestling knowledge that no one else could match. That combination made him unique and that is why everyone loved him.
I can't thank everyone enough for the support you have given Trey and myself during this hard time through e-mails, message board messages and MySpace messages.
So, to my friend JSK, I'll never forget you and be sure to keep a seat for me up there in heaven. We will have plenty of catching up to do when my time is up here.