In an organizational sense, I tend to think that there are a multitude of important people who contribute to whatever your cause is. Let's think of it in body parts--I find that to be easiest for me. I believe that an organization has a brain, the heart & soul, a mind, and feet.
The brain is what keeps the organization together, while the mind keeps the organization fresh and innovative. The heart & soul of the organization embodies everything that the organization is about. The feet keep the organization moving, always.
So, I suppose it's natural that I start this blog series to describe the heart and soul of this organization, The Superkick Foundation. I figured that one was the easiest.
Naturally, when the Foundation really-but-not-technically- started as just Superkick the Holidays in winter 2015, we were still trying to figure things out. We didn't know that this holiday fundraiser would expand into a legitimate 501(c)3 organization. There were plenty of obstacles: I, being the Founder, was only 23 years old Black guy who wanted to change the world through love and wrestling as a response to counteract the many acts of racism that I've experienced and others have had the misfortune (the sometimes fatal misfortune) of experiencing for themselves. I've always, also, been chronically unpopular, so apart from the core team of 3 best friends, and an old friend from High School, I don't know how we could have got this off the ground.
Alas, we did get hit the ground running with a small, cult-like following. Our initial run which bore us some of our most loyal followers (we call them "agents", now), Melissa DeVoe, Ren Dowgird, and Jason Solomon, formed the basis of what would become the Superkick Foundation. We struck gold; we needed heart, and while we had the concept, we didn't quite have anyone who was able to wrap their heads around what we're about and what we're trying to do for pro wrestlers and for people in need.
The idea for Superkick the Holidays was really organic. And the same could be said for Emmanuel Matkins’ involvement.
Emmanuel’s a normal, wrestling fan. Good southern guy who loved The Bucks just as I did. When he heard of us, which, I’d have you know it was at a time when we had some good momentum going and not when we had 2-3 followers, as he states on an interview he did---he understood the idea in a way that you’d never imagine. He went from just attending the shows as a fan to being almost like an investor, of sorts, of wrestlers.
When you join our Foundation internally, you suffer from the “FNDN Effect”; you go to wrestling shows and begin to focus on how hurt wrestlers are and could be, you focus on the dude at the merch table who is standing there and selling nothing, and you focus on the effort put into the ring by the performers.
This is the best way to describe Emmanuel, who is know around these parts as the “Iron Man”. He’s a mainstay at PWX; he’s helping set up and break down the ring, he knows the promoters well, he’s friends with a number of wrestlers who have let him inside of their circle, and he’s just a good, trustworthy, genuine guy who wants to make a difference in people’s lives. He always pays for free autographs for kids, and he’s always there when we need him. Some of our greatest relationships simply wouldn’t have been possible without Emmanuel’s persistence. We got called out by a well-known wrestler for being overly “aggressive” last year, but we’re a charity and we’ll always be aggressive—as Emmanuel has been. His aggressiveness has all the PWX guys talking about us, wanting shirts, wanting to get involved. In fact, our recent partnership with WrestlingParties came off of the good word of Sami Calahan, who learned about us through Emmanuel.
I wish there were more Emmanuels in the world. In fact, there probably are. But I won’t lie when I say this: without the Iron Man, we’re not half as successful. Iron Man has that special heart that helps him function. If you rip that thing right out of us, we’re probably never the same again.
He’s become a great friend of mine. We make fun of each other, we talk about ladies, politics, the Insane Clown Posse, and superkicks. He’s always thinking of ways to help people. That’s why he’s the Iron Man, and that’s why he is, undoubtedly, the heart and soul of The Superkick Foundation.