In thirteen years as a professional wrestler I had never sustained an injury that had sent me to the hospital.
I had experienced a broken thumb, that a nurse friend set and bandaged for me, many brutal bruises that made my wife grimace when she looked at me, and a nasty gash on my head, from an American flag being javellined at me, during my travels in Mexico, that I probably should have gotten stitches for; nothing major, walk it off.
Then, at the WWN Supershow, I’m wrestling Keith Lee, Austin Theory, and Gatekeeper #1, and Lee gave Theory and me a Double Overhead Belly-To-Belly Suplex which puts me on my head.
I had no idea what went catastrophically wrong, but I knew that it had. As soon, as I landed my right arm went completely numb. As I rolled out of the ring, and out of the way of potentially more damage, I yelled, “I’m hurt! I’m hurt!” Which, with my mouthpiece in probably sounded like, “Ih hhhuhh! Ih hhhuhh!”.
As I laid on the floor, feeling returned to my arm; and it stung like when the only girl I ever asked to dance in middle school said no.
Numbness was as persistent in my thumb and index finger, as I would have imagined that dance-denyer’s heart to have been, had you asked me back then.
My neck was burning like my various schools in my youthful daydreams; no one was in them, I just wanted the days off that would surely come, calm your taints.
Since the “I’m hurt”s didn’t reach the referees ears, no one had come to check on me. I decided not to wait, in case noone did.
As I hobbled back to the locker room, an audience member yelled, “You got a match to finish, Kincaid!”
“Nope.” I thought.
Back in the locker room, I laid down in the savasana yoga pose; flat on my back like a corpse.
Gabe Sapolsky, matchmaker-in-charge at WWNLive, rushed over to me and asked with a voice of deep concern, “What’s wrong, Kincaid?”
“Landed on my head and neck. Right side went numb. Still numb in fingers.” I said in my typical concise, stoic manner.
He called for someone on hand to come check on me and for an ambulance.
While we waited, someone brought me my phone. I called my wife.
Considering my sense of humor, and the date, I probably should have started like this: “I promise this isn’t an April Fools joke…”
Instead, I started like this: “Hey darling, clearly, since I’m talking to you so calmly, there’s nothing to worry about, but I just wanted to let you know that I landed on my head and my fingers are still numb, so I’m about to…” I paused as I watched the EMTs arrive. “...I’m actually about to be put on a backboard, now. Gotta go. Love you!”
She sounded intensely worried (the April 1st preface clearly wasn’t needed) as she told me that she loved me, as well.
People stood over me with uneasy looks on their faces and asked me questions in sorrowful tones.
Interestingly, though, I was calm…
No. More than calm; happy.
*Here the me getting strapped down to the backboard calls time out, and breaks the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera hovering above him and says:
I know you gotta be wondering, “Happy?! What the f__k is wrong with you?”
Well, besides the fact that my body may be irreversibly damaged, nothing at all is wrong with me.
I’m completely content with this moment, because I understand that I couldn’t change it if wanted to. So, I just accept it.
In that acceptance, I feel great joy and gratitude.
I’m grateful that I’m in a lot of pain, but there’s no suffering; because there’s no resistance to it.
I’m grateful for the grace that brought me the point that I could connect to inner-calm, that came through a buffet of psychospiritual teachers from widely varied times and regions of the World.
I’m grateful that, even if my wrestling career is over, I went from being a kid who couldn’t afford cool wrestling shirts, to being a man that all-too-quickly sells out of cool wrestling shirts.
How the f__k could I feel anything but happiness?
*The me now getting stretchered out and loaded into an ambulance calls time in*
“I’ll get ahold of your wife and let her know what hospital you’re at.” Sapolsky kindly informs me.
“Thank you...and I’m sorry.” I reply.
Sapolsky looks at me like I’m an idiot, gives me a how-dare-you smile, and rolls his eyes, as the ambulance doors close.
Off to the hospital, where this (said with no sarcasm) fun adventure continues in Part Two!