Monday November 20th– Arrowhead Stadium- Kansas City, Missouri
The air crackled with electricity and anticipation, as Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City was lit up with a frenetic energy, the air crackling with excitement and anticipation and filled up with thousands of people ready to witness a Monday night NFL game. Everywhere you looked, neon signs flickered and churned, dazzling the frenzied crowd.
To add to the excitement of the evening, rumors swirled about in the media that Travis Kelce’s parents were to meet Taylor Swift’s parents during the Monday Night Football game. Fans were abuzz with all kinds of wacky theories about what could possibly be transpiring between these two popular celebrity families. But the enthusiasm quickly plummeted to a deafening silence when it became clear that neither Taylor nor her parents would be at the game, leaving a void of disappointment in their wake.
Also at the game but not drawing the type of searing, A-list, high-power attention that a Taylor Swift appearance would demand, a man and woman in the stands both looking equally happy to be out on a date night together to take in the NFL game. That couple would be- Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear. Adam and Ginny sat with Jennifer Mason, a reporter for the local Kansas City paper. Jennifer was doing a big story on the local boy (Adam lived close by in Warrensburg, Missouri) making good in the pro wrestling world- no matter what Alexei Ruslan thinks of Ellis.
Adam’s voice was full of enthusiasm when he declared, “Ah, well, I’ve always been a lifelong Chiefs fan. Since my trainer Charlie Blackwell gave me Thanksgiving week off from working out, I thought it’d be the perfect time for Ginny to experience her first football game.”
“Wait,” Jennifer said. “Ginny… this is your first ever football game?”
Ginny let out a soft chuckle; she shined like a beacon amidst the surrounding darkness of the stadium. Her fiery red hair was impossible to miss even in low light and her Appalachian accent lingered heavily on every word she spoke. “Daddy didn’t let me watch sports growin’ up in McDowell, Kentucky,” she revealed in awe, wide doe eyes glimmering with excitement at the prospect of this new endeavor. “And in high school, I was MMA-in’ on weekends. Ain’t got a clue about football.”
“Alright, Ginny,” Adam continued animatedly, gesturing wildly toward the players on the field. “So when the quarterback throws the ball downfield like that, that’s called a pass.”
“A pass? Okay got it!” Ginny murmured thoughtfully, squinting at the players trying to take in all the information.
“Those big guys blocking for him are offensive linemen,” Adam informed her, nodding encouragingly. “Their job is to protect the quarterback and create space for the running back.”
“That does seem like an awful lot to remember,” Ginny thought aloud while furrowing her brow in concentration. But determinedly she added, “I reckon I’ll get the hang of it soon enough.”
“You’ll do just fine, darlin’,” Adam said warmly, squeezing her hand reassuringly.
As the couple continued their football tutorial, Jennifer couldn’t help but be captivated by their authenticity and charm.
The shrill of the halftime whistle echoed around the stadium, its sound bouncing off the concrete walls and seeping into the night air. Thick smoke hung in the air, swirling like a haunted mist as Ginny and Adam watched from their seats. The floodlights shone down on the smoke like God’s own hand reaching out to touch His creation.
Ginny brushed an errant strand of red hair from her face while Adam took a swig from his beer.
“Adam, speaking of pro wrestling, I heard you’re going up against ‘The Revelator’ Don Winters at ReVival 40 next week,” Jennifer said softly. Her eyes were hungry for information as she continued. “He’s got that catchphrase, something about being a true believer offering absolution to those who deserve the grace of His light. Is he a pastor or a wrestler?”
Adam swallowed hard, his throat dry with anticipation. He tried to steady himself before responding but could hardly get his thoughts together under direct questioning. “Uh, well,” he stammered nervously. “He’s, uh… He’s definitely a wrestler, but he’s kinda got this whole… preacher-like persona, y’know? Like he’s preachin’ salvation through, uh… through pain in the ring.”
Ginny scoffed loudly at this description, crossing her arms over her chest skeptically. “Salvation through pain?” she asked incredulously, her gaze never leaving Adam’s face. “That ain’t much common.”
Jennifer reacted with amusement at Adam’s sudden awkwardness and then proceeded to prod deeper into his thought process concerning his upcoming opponent. “So, tell me, what do you think of Winters? Are you intimidated by his, uh, unique approach to wrestling?”
A smirk slowly stretched across Adam’s lips as he finally found his confidence again. He toyed with his blond hair as he answered confidently: “Intimidated? Nah, not really. I mean, sure, he’s got a way of gettin’ under people’s skin with all that talk about salvation and stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s just two guys in the ring. I’m confident in my faith and I’m confident in my abilities in the ring.”
“Speaking of your abilities,” Jennifer said, shifting gears. “You’ve had quite a run in PRIME so far, haven’t you? What do you think you need to improve on?”
Adam furrowed his brow, deep in thought. “I reckon I need to work on my focus. I spent way too much time thinking about John Sektor and letting myself get drawn into this proxy war between HOW and PRIME. I’ve rededicated myself to focusing on PRIME and PRIME alone. You’ve got to because there’s just so much talent here and you have to be at top effort at all times.”
“Especially with someone like ‘The Revelator’ tryin’ to get inside your head,” Ginny added, shooting Adam a knowing look.
“Exactly,” Adam agreed, nodding vigorously. “It’s all about blocking’ out the noise and staying’ focused on what matters: winning’ the match and putting’ on a good show for the fans.”
As the conversation carried on, Jennifer thought the roar of the crowd and the sounds of bodies colliding on the field below all served as the perfect backdrop for this gritty, unfiltered glimpse into the life of an up-and-coming professional wrestler and his fiercely loyal manager-wife.
“And you, Ginny,” Jennifer continued. “You’ve also had your fair share of misadventure.”
Ginny leaned forward in her seat, her fiery red hair cascading down just above her shoulders as she continued to hold her own in the conversation with Jennifer Mason.
“Yeah,” Ginny said, her Kentucky/Appalachian accent giving her words a distinct drawl. “Y’know, I’ve had this right here moment at a PRIME show where I just let my feelings get the best o’ me.'” She glanced over at Adam, who gave her an encouraging nod, his eyes full of understanding.
“Oh,” Jennifer prompted, intrigued by the story. “Go on.”
“Well, there was this sponsor’s balloon floatin’ inside the arena, and it just got under my skin somethin’ fierce,” Ginny explained, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment. “I didn’t thank and just grabbed my shotgun – I’m a crack shot, y’see – and I shot that dang thing down.”
“Really?” Jennifer asked, wide-eyed.
“Yep,” Ginny confirmed, looking sheepish. “Adam wasn’t too happy ’bout it…”
“Nope. And neither was Lindsay Troy,” Adam added.
“Lindsay Troy?” Jennifer said.
“She’s the President and CEO of PRIME,” clarified Adam.
“No, I told her I’d straighten up an fly right,” Ginny spoke apologetically. “And then there were them buck-bombing incidents…”
“Wait, buck bombing?” Jennifer inquired, her reporter instincts kicking in. “What exactly is buck-bombing?”
“Buck bombs are aerosol cans filled with liquid or gel-based scent attractant,” explained Adam who knew probably more about the subject than he should have thanks to Ginny. “They work by emitting a potent scent that travels long distances, signaling to bucks in the area that there is potential for mating or marking territory.”
“It’s my way of lettin’ folks know they done crossed a line,” Ginny said, grinning mischievously.
“You also got into it with a couple of Missouri Valley Wrestling wrestlers, as well?” Jennifer asked.
Ginny’s faced turned a shade of red with embarrassment.
“Yeah, Ah mighta’ buck-bombed th’ Stevens Dynasty’s dressin’ room an’… ” Ginny paused, takin’ a deep breath. “…shot up Scott Steven’s rent-a-car.” Her sweet blue eyes lightened with the spark of righteous indignation. “But Scott Stevens done attacked Adam after his match with John Sektor. I’m pretty daggone fierce protectin’ o’ Adam an’, sometimes, Ah git a mite too carried away.”
“Sounds like quite the deterrent,” Jennifer chuckled, her voice barely audible above the surge of the crowd.
“Unfortunately, Ray McAvay didn’t think so,” Adam spoke up.
“Ray McAvay?” asked the reporter.
“The majority owner of Missouri Valley Wrestling,” Adam said adding, “Yeah, he wasn’t too happy about it.”
Taking a moment to survey Adam and Ginny, she saw two very different individuals: Adam was tall and broad-shouldered with deep brown eyes that seemed to take in everything around him; Ginny, on the other hand, was petite with bright blue eyes full of curiosity. “Now, I have to ask… do either of you know who Taylor Swift is?”
“Taylor who?” Ginny replied, her brow furrowing in confusion.
“Taylor Swift – the singer?” Jennifer asked, unsure if they had even heard of the name before.
Adam’s face blossomed into a sheepish grin, his eyes twinkling mischievously as he interjected, “Ah, yeah. I’ve heard of her. She’s pretty popular, but I don’t think Ginny’s really into that kind of music.”
“More of a Christian music gal myself,” Ginny chimed in, shrugging.
Jennifer made a mental note of their preferences before continuing her line of questioning. “Well, I appreciate you both taking the time to chat with me during the game. Good luck next week, Adam.” She held out her hand and he eagerly shook it with his own firm grip – a gesture that spoke volumes about his character and strength of will.
“Thanks, Jennifer! We appreciate it!” His voice carried over the noise of the increasingly rowdy crowd as they prepared to kick off at the start of the second half. The stadium lights cast long shadows across the field like spectral hands pointing toward greatness – both in and out of the ring – as Adam and Ginny settled back into their seats; ever ready to cheer on Adam’s team.
So, Don states ‘A true believer offering absolution to those who deserve the grace of His light.’
Let me tell you something about faith. I grew up in a family of Lutherans and my parents raised my brother and me to believe and have faith in something bigger than ourselves. Faith is a powerful notion that has transcended generations. Faith is the cornerstone of our existence, an unshakable roof over our heads during hard times. Nothing can stop us when we have faith in ourselves, no force can hold us down!
Every day, I go about striving to be the best person I can be – the best husband, and the best wrestler. The kind of faith you need to pick yourself up when life’s dealt you a tricky hand. When times are hard, it’s faith that will carry you through. When my career doesn’t go the way I think it should be or if I lose matches that I know I should have done better in… I lean on my faith to give me the strength to strive to be – the best wrestler, the best husband, the best… person …and that is what drives me each and every day.
I’m grateful to have been blessed with what I love – wrestling. And of course, true love with Ginny is something beyond all description. It’s not the fake, showbiz, carny, Love Convoy bullshit that Vickie Hall cynically uses to suck the air out of the room for everyone else while directing all the attention toward herself. It’s the real thing. Ginny and I are a true team. We’re equals. We work together. We support each other through thick and thin. I’ve found my soulmate in Ginny. There ain’t nothing better than that and words can’t even begin to express how lucky I am.
Friday night, I’ll be stepping into that ring with a legend named ‘The Relevator’ Don Winters. I know it won’t be easy. But I will climb into the ring knowing that it’s not my faith in myself that will move me forward… it’ll be the faith in my God-given abilities that, if I do the things I need to do in the ring against Don Winters, means I’ll walk out of there with a win.
Good luck, Don. May the best man win.
Thursday November 23rd– Thanksgiving Dinner
Ginny apprehensively approached the looking glass. Her usually alabaster skin was a little more flushed than usual, and her long red hair seemed to be dancing around her face. Almost by instinct, she began to apply her makeup, but her hands were shaking uncontrollably as she examined her reflection. She knew that tonight’s Thanksgiving dinner would be a defining moment – for both Adam and herself.
“Are you sure they’ll like me?” she asked, her distinct Kentucky/Appalachian drawl thick with worry.
Adam wrapped his arms around her from behind, enveloping her small body in a comforting embrace. “Of course they will, sweetheart,” he said softly, his voice calm and reassuring. “You’re amazing, and my parents are going to love you.”
As Ginny finished preparing herself for the evening ahead, Adam marveled at his wife with admiration. He knew of her fiery personality and that it could be hard to contain at times, but he also knew there was no one else on earth he would rather face life’s obstacles alongside – especially when it came to dealing with family.
When they arrived at the Ellis residence, Ginny couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated by its grandeur. The house was decorated with traditional Thanksgiving flair – festive wreaths hung from the doors and the scent of cinnamon and cloves filled the air as warmly welcomed guests into its abode. Inside, the long dining table was set with towering dishes; each place setting was carefully arranged with minuscule attention to detail that only a mother can muster.
“Oh wow,” Ginny gasped as she took in the sight before her. “Your parents shure do know how to make someone feel welcome.”
Adam smiled proudly. “Yeah, they do – but don’t worry – it’s only their way of showing how much they care about this time of year and how much they want everyone to feel welcome.
Ginny took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart. She glanced around the room, noting the framed pictures of family members – some, like Adam’s older brother Jason and his wife Chloe, she recognized from stories he had shared; others were faces she had yet to meet. The thought of making conversation with so many unknown people was daunting, but she was determined to make a good impression.
“Alright,” Ginny said, steeling herself as she clutched Adam’s hand. “Let’s do this.”
The door creaked open, and Ginny was met with the overwhelming warmth of Mrs. Ellis’ embrace; a petite woman with silver hair and eyes full of kindness. Mr. Ellis, equally as tall but more robust than his son Adam, offered a firm handshake coupled with a genial smile, one that spread across his entire face.
“Welcome to our home, Ginny,” Mrs. Ellis said in her refined Midwestern tone. “We’re so delighted that you could join us for Thanksgiving.”
“Thank y’all for having me,” Ginny replied, in response to the hospitality she had been shown. Her accent sounded so distinct among the family’s subtleness, one which immediately highlighted her foreignness.
Adam’s older brother, Jason and Chloe, the older brother and sister-in-law, made their grand entrance with impeccable dress and manners that added an air of formality to the exchange. As they greeted Ginny, she could feel her stomach knotting up as she struggled to hold a normal conversation.
“Jason,” she started nervously, “Adam tells me y’all into golf?”
He seemed surprised by the inquiry but answered nonetheless, explaining how he found peace on the green. Charmingly, Chloe followed suit and shared her love of interior design – transforming homes from drab to fab – while Ginny smiled politely, feeling worlds away from this couple’s more refined lifestyle.
Her thoughts returned home; to fishing trips at sunrise or hunting in the woods. It was so different here; yet Ginny pushed past her discomfort and tried her best to make connections, determined to find common ground between them all.
As they continued to chat, it became increasingly clear that Ginny’s upbringing was a stark contrast to the Ellis family values and traditional beliefs. But she was determined not to be deterred.
“Can I help with anything in the kitchen?” Ginny offered eagerly, wanting to contribute and demonstrate her skills.
“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Ellis replied kindly, inviting the assistance. “We could use some help with the mashed potatoes.”
Ginny smiled, rolling up her sleeves and getting straight to work as she peeled, chopped, and stirred the ingredients for the dish. As she worked, she remained attentive to the conversations around her, taking in every nuance of this unfamiliar world as a way of understanding it better.
The delectable aromas of roasted turkey and sweet potatoes filled the air as the Ellis family gathered around the table, laden with an impressive array of dishes. Ginny’s hands trembled slightly as she walked cautiously towards the table with her dish of mashed potatoes. She shifted her gaze between Mr. and Mrs. Ellis expectantly, bracing herself for their reaction.
“Wow, Ginny, these potatoes look perfect! You did an amazing job,” Mrs. Ellis praised with a warm smile on her face. A flood of relief swept through Ginny’s body but her nerves stayed taut for the remainder of the meal.
The family started to dig in, relishing laughter and stories told – creating an intimate environment that felt so invitingly homey. Mr. Ellis regaled them with tales of Adam’s childhood wrestling aspirations while Jason shared his experiences of Adam’s clumsy attempts at mastering his wrestling moves.
“Ya know, I surely undoubtedly knew Adam was fixin to make it,” Ginny interjected fondly, reminiscing about their early days together; “When we first met he’d practice his moves on me and you could just feel this natural talent radiating off him.”
As the conversation flowed, Ginny found herself opening up more, asking questions, and even laughing along with the family. She became enthralled by their tales of tradition and perseverance, learning more about the family she now belonged to. The cultural differences seemed to melt away as they bonded over shared experiences, and Ginny began to feel more at ease among the Ellis family.
As soon as dinner ended, the two of them rushed out to the porch, craving a momentary reprieve from the cloying heat inside. Ginny breathed in the cool night air, feeling it brush past her cheeks like a lover’s soft caress and calming her still racing heart. Adam pulled her close and sank into the swing chair with her snugly embraced in his arms, their movements mirroring one another like synchronized dancers.
Ginny looked up at him, suddenly overwhelmed by the magnitude of emotions that had been lurking beneath the surface all day long. She cleared her throat softly, preparing herself for what she was about to say.
“Adam,” she started, her voice hitching ever so slightly. “This Thanksgiving has been harder than I thought it would be. It’s my second one without my dad, and last year I didn’t really have time to dwell on it.” Her lips quivered and her eyes filled with tears as Adam gazed at her intently; he could feel her pain in his bones. His arms tightened around her protectively as he whispered a few gentle words of comfort into her ear.
“Hey, it’s okay,” he said soothingly, his hand running circles across her back. His fingers entwined with hers as he offered up a weak smile of reassurance. He murmured softly against her ear, his breath tickling her cheek. “You did great today, and I know my family loves you. And your dad… well, I’m sure he’s looking down on us right now, proud of the woman you’ve become.”
Ginny felt herself start to relax at his comforting words, allowing herself to truly feel his love and support enveloping her like an impenetrable shield.
“Luv you,Adam.” She closed her eyes and nestled deeper into his chest, taking solace in his unwavering faith.
“I love you Ginny.” Adam put his arm around her. “Happy Thanksgiving.”