I first saw “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan when I was a youngster.
It was in Binghamton at the Broome County Arena and he took on Andre The Giant, then a heel in the world of professional wrestling. With his chants of “HOOOOOOOOO!” and “USA USA USA,” Duggan was a larger-than-life hero to me.
I even got his 3/4-sleeve baseball jersey-style shirt. And, despite being a wrestling fan most of my life, that’s still one of the very few wrestling shirts I’ve owned. Since then, I can only think of a few others — a Hulk Hogan one (duh), a bWo shirt from the ECW days and one I recently received as a gift for shooting promo photos for a couple of friends who are indy wrestlers.
Outside of that, I can’t remember any, though I may be missing one or two.
But Hacksaw has always been one of my favorites.
I’ve said it here before, but when I watch wrestling, I like to believe. I understand how it works. I know what goes on. But when the show is on, I like to believe. I’m old school in that I cheer for the good guys and boo the bad guys. Though there are rare exceptions to the rule, I will usually follow those thoughts.
Heck, at a recent independent show where the aforementioned friends are heels in one federation, I booed them. It’s how I like things to be.
Hacksaw still gets around to events. He wrestles on the indys and, occasionally, shows up on WWE television for a cameo, usually getting a massive cheer when he does.
I’ve seen Duggan in recent years and he’s still entertaining. Despite approaching 60, he still captivates fans, smiles and seems to enjoy the life (as I gather from watching him Tweet).
A few years ago, he wrestled as part of BTW in my town. I got to chat with him quickly and, being we weren’t far from his hometown of Glens Falls (a couple of hours away), I mentioned I always enjoyed seeing his photo in the state champions pages when I covered the New York State high school wrestling championships. He seemed genuine in his responses and made me realize why I was still a fan.
A few weeks back, I saw he was behind an Indiegogo campaign.
He was looking to raise $6,500 for surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. His inability to get insurance, because of the high risk pro-wrestling has, makes it difficult to have this surgery. At the point of me writing this, he had more than $10,000 raised with about four hours to go.
I had some “found” money in my PayPal account — from some blog-related things. I kept it there because I hadn’t known how my employment situation was going to pan out, but with the job front doing well, I thought it was OK to spend some of this money.
So I did.
I donated to Hacksaw’s cause. I realize pro wrestlers take risks each day and it’s part of the job. But the reality is, giving to this cause is giving back for the endless memories Hacksaw has given me.
Plus, there are perks.
Much like Kickstarter, Indiegogo has it set up so those running the campaigns can give perks to those who back them.
I went with the $30 setup and, sometime in April or so, I’ll receive my perk — a phone call from “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. That’s right, WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan will be calling ME. I can’t wait, either. I think it’s going to be fun. I don’t know how long the call will be, but I just know it’s going to be way too cool to get the call and be able to chat with Duggan.
And, hopefully, this surgery will help him still be able to do what he does among the best — entertain, bring many of us back to our childhoods and make some of us believers.
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