I am a writer because I love words. I love words because they make up stories. No story is ever the same, but some themes cross stories in the form of archetypes. Those are timeless. They translate across the game board of humanity, because we recognize ourselves within the characters. There are moments we identify with the hero, and others recognize the villain within. The best stories hold up a mirror for our greatest reflection. Epic tales give us the heroes we aspire to be.
Connor “The Crusher” Michalek is such a character. Cancer robbed this beloved boy of a long life; but not a legacy. The preamble to his book of life was written by his old soul and others, inspired by him, have taken up the thread of his tale to ensure his story lives through the ages.
I am a writer because I call myself one. I am a writer because I believe in words. Most times when I ask another to contribute in writing they discount their ability. When I asked Connor's brave dad, and my dear friend, Steve Michalek to write about Connor he did just that ... what he delivered, despite his protestations, is as beautifully written as poetry.
Writing isn't about technique; it’s about what comes from the expression of pure love.
I’ll let Steve tell you about the boy who gave him the happiest and most bittersweet chapters in his own life. It’s Steve’s story to tell and my words pale next to his. Love trumps technical word play; passion triumphs, always.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what to tell you and what some of my best memories were. It's been so hard. I think about him every day, constantly, but actually saying my thoughts or writing them seems different. I guess the first and most important thing I think about so much is how much love of life such a young li’l boy could have. Even with all he had to go through, he had a sparkle in his eye and always a smile on his face. When he laughed, everyone near him couldn’t help but to feel better, and laugh, too, regardless of the situation. He always had something witty — almost too witty — for a child, to say. It was like he knew something about life that no one else did. He had warmth that came off him like he was part of all that was right in the world. I think that’s maybe why he liked to hug people so much; he liked to share that warmth.
When it comes to WWE, one of my favorite things was how no matter how big a person was physically, like Big Show, or how big their personality was, like the Miz — who was always trying to recruit him to be a Miz fan, not Daniel Bryan — Connor was never nervous or intimidated. Connor would never back down from what he thought was right in his little mind. He felt like a Superstar and the best thing was all the Superstars treated him that way. It was beautiful to watch these bigger than life Superstars treat a little boy like any other kid, instead of a sick li’l boy. Connor joked with them and they gave it right back, and he loved it.
Of course his time in the ring, with all his heroes cheering him on, is a highlight memory of mine. The moment it came time to pin Triple H, though no one mentioned it or told him to, instead of just a regular cover, Connor hooked his leg during the three-count. With all the excitement around him he still thought of that, showing even that moment wasn’t too big for him.”
I love Steve’s story of Connor. I love his story because, like the best stories ever written, it makes us believe in the goodness of humanity although we may have seen some of the worst. The story of Connor connects us to the purity and light in life. Connor becomes the most Ultimate of Warriors. Connor’s true character gets full display as an archetypal protagonist. Connor is immortalized for what he is: a hero.
What I love most about WWE is their commitment to championing heroes both in the ring and out. What Stephanie and Paul have championed in partnership with The V Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, through Connor’s Cure, is monumental in their dedication to eradicating childhood cancer in the name of a boy they loved, too.
When we talk about “characters,” no better villains are as artfully executed as Stephanie McMahon and her husband, Triple H. For storytelling purposes, I’ll reveal that as dastardly as their characters are in the ring, the content of their moral character is shining and pure. Their fight to give Connor a legacy within the WWE family is monumental. Connor The Crusher was the inaugural recipient of the Warrior Award in remembrance of the late Ultimate Warrior for the character he championed throughout his life, too. WWE has expanded Connor’s legacy with each passing year with redoubled effort to annihilate cancer as a childhood opponent.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and in true WWE fashion we are taking it to the mat! The WWE Universe, alongside our Superstars, will be part of the unfolding tale. This is our activation and a call to action to integrate YOU in a story of victory! Enlist yourself among our army and learn all the ways you can support Connor’s Cure at shop.wwe.com and The V Foundation jimmyv.org
I believe in slaying a wicked beast that robs the world of princes, princesses, heroes and heroines. I believe it is up to us, the storytellers of life, to take up mighty swords and write a new chapter, erasing cancer from the books. I believe in giving kids the chance for happily ever after ... always.