Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oh Mickie...

Mickie James, Me, and my daughter
By Kevin Hunsperger

My job as a TV news anchor and reporter has allotted me some opportunities to get up close and personal with several wrestlers through the years.  Many times, they stay in character so I don't really get to know their real personality.  Believe or not, the men and women in the ring are not exactly the same when they're not on camera.  Such was the case when I met the Miz about a year and a half ago.

I recently had the chance to meet Mickie James, the current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion.  She was the guest at a USA Wrestling event in Carrier Mills, Illinois.  It's a very small town a couple hours south of St. Louis.  I was completely impressed with Mickie's professionalism and how she treated the fans while she was in town.

Earlier that morning, I did a phone interview with Mickie about her appearance. (thanks to Bert Prentice for setting that up).  She then drove up from Nashville, which was about a 3 or 3 1/2 hour trip.  She did this on her own time.  The event was free to the fans, USA Wrestling was collecting money for flood victims in the area.  For those not familiar with southern Illinois, we've had historic flooding in many communities and people have lost everything.  So the wrestlers walked the crowd at the match as well as at the carnival going on (it was Carrier Mills annual Catskin Days) collecting donations.

Mickie meets her fans
Mickie also posed for pictures in the ring with fans for a $5 donation and signed autographs for a contribution to the flood fund.  She collected no money from this appearance.  I was just completely impressed that she took the time out of her busy schedule of wrestling and writing and performing music to support a small town that she'd probably never even heard of.

I've been to other independent events before that have brought in big name stars.  Those guys have always pocketed all or almost all of the money collected from autographs and photos taken.  It was refreshing to see someone on the A list of wrestling be so willing to give back to others in need.  She was polite to the fans, smiling at them, offering up hugs, and saying kind words to them.  That's cool too, because I've seen some wrestlers snub the fans who are there to see them, by simply ignoring them or just being mean to them.

Someone on Twitter said I was sucking up to Mickie.  Maybe I am.  I just felt like letting people know that performers are people too, they're not always about being in the spotlight or having the attention focused on them.  Mickie James, in my opinion, did a noble thing by visiting this region and helping raise more than $530 to donate to the local Red Cross.

I was able to interview Mickie that night too.  I am working on putting together a couple of pieces on YouTube.  Be sure to check back soon for that.  Also, "like" us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Thanks!