Welcome to another edition of The Rise and Fall of an Underdog. Thanks for reading and I hope you?re enjoying the story of Jake’s journey to the big leagues. If you have missed any installments, check out the previous Thursday’s posts or let me know and I can send it to you. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and would always love to hear any comments, questions, or requests you might have. Happy reading!
It had been a simple move that had done it; nothing fancy. Not a corkscrew moonsault or 450 splash. It hadn?t even been in a risky match like a cage or ladder match. Nope, it had been a simple, everyday sunset flip that landed Jake on a stretcher and in a hospital.
A sunset flip is one of the first moves you learn in training and Jake had done it at least a thousand times. In every match he had ever been in he had done a sunset flip. It was simple. You run at your opponent, he bends forward, you leap over his back, down through his legs, taking him down for a pin. It was physics really; force, propulsion, basic stuff. But this time something went wrong. Jake was wrestling a fairly green guy by the name of Donnie Diamond. He had shown a lot of promise and was ecstatic, and lucky, to be getting a match with the champ. There was never any chance of Donnie winning this match but as they say at the Oscars ?it was a pleasure just to be nominated?. Donnie was nervous so Jake went through the match step by step and they planned all the spots they were going to do. He could see the cogs turning in Donnie’s head as he tried to remember all the moves and the order they went in. He reassured him that if anything went wrong he would call it on the fly and it would still look great. Jake gave Donnie a pat on the back that the Crusher would be proud of and sent him on his way.
Jake got the sudden urge to call his Mom. He hadn?t spoken to her in a couple of weeks and he was suddenly hit with pangs of guilt. He dialled his cell and waited. The answering machine kicked in after a couple of rings and caught Jake off guard.
?Hey Mom, it’s Jake. Jeese, could you set the answering machine to any fewer rings. Give a guy a chance! Anyways, I just wanted to say that I?m a crap son and that I know I should call you more. I?ve been so busy that sometimes I don?t even know what town I?m in. But that’s no excuse. I?m going to make more of an effort Mom. I?ll call you after my match tonight. Promise. Love you.?
He hung up the phone and made a conscious effort to burn a reminder into his brain to call his Mom after the match. Not satisfied with his memories abilities, he grabbed a pen from his bag and sprawled in dark letters across the back of his hand ?CALL MOM?. Satisfied, he headed for a bite to eat and a bit of down time before the match.
Donnie looked as if he was about to puke. As they waited behind the curtains Jake chuckled to himself at the thought that he was just like Donnie a year or so ago; nervous, wanting to give the best match he could, hoping not to kill himself! The music hit and Donnie shook off the nerves and got into character. Jake hit the ring and was surprised by the snarling beast he met in the ring. Donnie was such a timid soul but as a heel he was ready to rip Jake’s head off. The bell rang and they started off with a good ol? test of strength. Donnie gauged Jake’s eyes though and the heat was on. Jake took it slow at first but when he knew that Donnie could keep up he kicked it up a notch and delivered some picture perfect drop kicks and a hurricanrana that any Luchador would have been proud off. Donnie was huffing and puffing a little but Jake knew he was doing all right. He gave him a little wink and Donnie hid a smile. Jake hit the ropes and Donnie put his head down. The sunset flip was about half way through the match and they both were looking forward to a big finish. But Donnie pushed up a bit early and Jake over rotated landing firmly on the back of his head and neck. Jake hit the mat in a heap and Donnie fell forward. As Donnie came to his feet he could see the ref standing over Jake. The ref signalled to the back for the medics and made Jake stay on the mat until they got there. Nowadays there’s no messing about with neck injuries and if there’s any doubt as to the safety of the wrestler the medics are called out with a spine board. This was the wrestler is safe and the promoter has his back covered as well. The fans all stood in silence, as did Donnie, as Jake was strapped into a neck brace and placed on the spine board. Once he was safely out of the ring the fans respectfully applauded the fallen combatant. As the cheers grew, Jake managed to get the attention of one of the medics as he said ?I can?t feel my legs.?
Jake was rushed to the nearest hospital and examined by a team of doctors. By the time they had finished the x-rays Jake was starting to get the feeling back in his limbs. When it had initially happened his mind had gone straight to the worst-case scenario. He saw a life in a wheelchair and the end of his career as a wrestler. But the doctor explained that when the neck experiences such a jar it can lead to tingling and numbness in the extremities. He warned Jake that it might continue for a little while and that he should stay away from wrestling for at least three months. Three months could as well have been a million years for Jake and any time off meant uncertainty in his career and certainly his financial life. Luckily Jake had invested in a health care plan but the lack of income would not be easy. This was the last thing Jake needed right now and he felt so stupid and helpless.
?Who’s Mo?? the pretty young nurse asked Jake as she adjusted his I.V.
?Your hand, it says ?Call Mo?.?
Jake must have sweated off the final M in Mom during his match. All of a sudden none of his other problems mattered; not his tingling legs or the time off he would have to take. All that mattered was that he had promised his Mom that he would call after his match and now he was laying in a hospital bed and had to explain it to her over the phone.
? It’s Mom not Mo. Can I use the phone? I need to give her a call.?
?Oh she’s already on her way. Didn?t anyone tell you? She’s your emergency contact so we called her as soon as you got here. She should get here any minute now.?
Jake was relieved but now had to come up with some way of rationalizing all of this for his mother. He knew she wasn?t petty but could hear an ?I told you so? coming. When his Mom entered the room a minute later she burst into tears and carefully hugged Jake. There was no I told you so? just a mother worried about her little boy. Jake knew that he hadn?t gotten off scot free, there would be a serious conversation to come. But for now he hugged his mother and began to cry in her arms. Alana followed in and they all held each other close in a hospital room, in a town that Jake didn?t even know the name of. He had gone through a major shock tonight. Not just the shock that he had felt in his neck but the shock that maybe this wasn?t the best job in the world for him to be doing.