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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Journey of the Journeyman: Here Comes the Heat

First, let me apologize for the delay in posting.  Between a busy schedule professionally and handling things personally, I haven't had as much "free time" as I'd like.  Also, I haven't really had a topic or experience that spoke to me enough to write an interesting article...until now.

I'd debated whether or not to way in on this topic, due to the polarizing opinions I've seen throughout social media, but I have decided to throw my opinion out there.  So without further adieu....

Crowd Funding & Professional Wrestling

A little back story before I begin my article, without naming names.  Recently, a link to a GoFundMe account for a professional wrestler has been shared throughout social media.  The gist of the scenario is that said wrestler has received an opportunity of some sort and a crowd funding page was set up by a friend to assist in the travel, lodging, etc. for this wrestler to take advantage of the opportunity presented.

As mentioned prior, this has been received to polarizing opinion.  One camp is wishing the wrestler well, while the other is demonizing them for asking for help.  Well, here comes the heat, as I (for some reason) voice my opinion on the matter.

GoFundMe and other crowd funding sites have a variety of uses.  In some people's eyes, these should be used strictly for emergency scenarios, i.e. medical bills, sudden death, etc.  However, on GoFundMe's home page, it states "Raise money for yourself, others, and charities".  GoFundMe has a huge list of categories to choose from.  A picture from their website is listed below. 
In order to better educate myself on GoFundMe's uses to form an educated opinion rather than going strictly off reaction, I browsed the campaigns to see what others had used the platform for.  My findings show that this scenario is far from unusual.  I found examples of athletes requesting funds for training to take their game to the next level, teams and individual athletes asking for help to make it to events such as championship games and trials, bands recording albums, bands purchasing a vehicle to tour in...the results really run the gamut.

I main arguments I've seen against the example in question is that many believe this wrestler should either A) save up money to participate in this opportunity or B) sacrifice more to be able to participate.  Let's plug that line of thinking into another campaign that I reviewed and look at the line of thinking from another angle.

A Pop Warner football team is asking for $30K to help cover room, board, and travel to a Pop Warner Championship game.  With the thinking above, it would be decided that the parents of the kids should save better or sacrifice more for their kids to have the opportunity to participate in this event?  Why does this not sound right to everyone else?  Because professional wrestling is, inherently, a hypocritical business. 

Hot take, right?  I can feel the heat now, but let me back up my theory with hypothetical examples.  I've been in many locker rooms throughout the country, and the world, in my 12 years of bumping for bucks.  I heard many wrestlers brag about convincing "ring rats", "money marks", and sponsors to buy them goods (clothing, wrestling gear, etc.), cover their travel (plane tickets, rental cars, driving them placed), and otherwise sponsor/fund their professional wrestling dream.  This is a time honored tradition in professional wrestling, for better or for worse, whether it is done through conning the individual (feigning a relationship) or reaping the benefits of the wrestler's star power in the eyes of the paying individual.

While the above is celebrated, taking a straight forward approach such as crowd funding to attempt to obtain these funds is frowned upon.  See the hypocrisy? 

At the end of the day, here is my take.  GoFundMe is a 100% voluntary service.  If you want to help, donate and/or share.  If not, don't.  No one is forcing your hand or taking money out of your wallet.  If the cause speaks to someone, they will donate.  If it doesn't, the funds won't be donate.  It's that simple.

Let's stop being so critical.  Let's celebrate opportunity.  If it's not hurting you, why care?

As always, stay human my friends.  I love you all.

- Jeremiah Plunkett
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