There are certain things you don’t think about when you start writing about professional wrestling. You don’t think about becoming friends with wrestlers, past or present. You don’t think about the possibility that you’ll have many of them in your phone contacts. You don’t think about the prospect of getting phone calls out of the blue, just to talk. You don’t think about early morning texts, or sharing holiday greetings with people you consider heroes… or even legends.
You also don’t think about losing them. What’s more, you don’t consider that one day, because you are a writer, you’ll be the one to eulogize them in some way. I can’t say that would have dissuaded me from taking this turn in life, but I can’t tell you it’s an honor I am happy to have.
It wasn’t unexpected when we lost Tracy Smothers in 2020. He’d been battling cancer for a year. He’d had good days in bad, and leading up to that morning, when Mad Man Pondo called me at work, he’d had more bad than good. He was a few years shy of 60, but he had cancer. And cancer sucks.
JJ Maguire was past the big 6-0. He was also dealing with cancer himself, though as far as he told me, it was mild by comparison to Tracy’s. I was talking out of a peddler’s mall in Louisville when I got a Facebook message from Jamie Hemmings offering condolences. I wasn’t ready for that one. It came out of no where. it was a complete shock.
Which brings me to Sean Patrick O’Brien.
Sean was 34. He was younger than me by almost a decade and a half. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would write a memorial for him. Sean left behind a beautiful family, two sweet little girls. And so, so many friends. I’m not sure it’ll sink in even after I go to my first show at the Jeffersonville Arena and see his mural on the wall instead of his smiling face giving me a hug.
If you want to read my memorial to Sean, it’s on Slam! Wrestling. Click here to read it. I don’t have much more to say here. This is just me, getting some thoughts down in black and white, on the unfortunate side of being a pro wrestling writer. I’ll miss Sean’s hugs and smiles as much as I miss Tracy and JJ’s random calls and texts.
To all my friends in the business… you are family, and I love you guys.
To all the superstars and family members of superstars who have allowed me to write their stories… I love you all too. You are family.
Same to all you readers. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being fans of these amazing people. Let’s get back to enjoying pro wrestling. And let’s share a few more hugs – make it a lot more hugs – going forward.
One last thing: here’s the short film Sean helped me make during Covid, along with his brothers in stripes Aaron Grider and AJ Kissinger.