Higher, Further, Faster

By: Kasey Winterborn

Date: 6th Aug 2021

Thereís not a lot I regret about my life. Despite losing my parents when I was 6, I was lucky enough to get adopted into a great family. Mom, dad, older brother…just slap a white picket fence in our front yard and we were the picture-perfect American family. No real skeletons in my closet, either. Never even got so much as a speeding ticket in my 33 years on Earth. But, there was always that one question that keeps niggling at the back of my mind. Like a popcorn kernel caught in your teeth that you canít quite get rid of. What ifÖ? What if my parents had lived? What would my life look like then? Would I still have become a professional wrestler? Hard to say. My older brother Phoenix was the one that instilled that love in me. Heís been obsessed with it practically since birth. It was one of the things that bonded us so quickly when I arrived at the Chicago home of the Winterborns all those years ago. Did my birth parents like pro wrestling? Would they have taken me to live events? There wasnít much I remembered about my parents, and if it wasnít for the few photographs I had of them, Iím sure I probably would have forgotten what they looked like as well. The only thing I remember clearly from that time in my life was the day I was called to the principalís office, only to be met by two sombre-looking police officers who broke the news to me that my parentsÖ Woah. Havenít thought about that day for a while. Better pump the brakes, or Iím gonna go down an emotional spiral that I donít need right now. I had just cleared the first hurdle of my triumphant return to wrestling – getting over my own self-doubts and winning not only my first match in two months, but my debut in a brand-new company. If I wanted to keep the momentum going, I was going to have to be laser-focused from here on out. Which meant no more trips down memory lane. But even still, I canít help but to wonder…what if? —————- I sat under the canopy outside of the small beach bungalow in Mexico that had become something of a second (third?) home. Normally I would be out on the beach itself, taking in the early morning light across the water, but today was overcast and a light rain was falling. But rather than being dreary and depressing, it was actually calming, nearly lulling me back to sleep as I sipped on my coffee. The sound of the door opening behind me caused a smile on my face as the seat next to me was filled by Shawn, who flung an arm around my shoulders and pulled me tight to his side. I snuggled in happily, letting out a contented sigh.

Penny for your thoughts?” he said, his voice low as his lips brushed against my temple.

Am I really that obvious?

Well, you usually come out here when youíve got something on your mind. Iíve just noticed the pattern.

Why canít I just come out here and enjoy the view?

He gave me a pointed look, then gazed out at the endless stretch of cloudy gray skies and dark churning waters in front of us.

What? I happen to like rainy days too. Very calming and relaxing. Good for the soul.

KaseÖ

Alright, alright.” I gave a quirk of my lips in a half-smile. “I just got thinking about…what if?

Like the new Marvel show coming out?

I shoved at him playfully. “No! I mean…what if my parents had lived?

Shawn got quiet then. This wasnít a topic I brought up very often, so I got the feeling that he was invested in what I was going to say. “I just wonder if I would have had the same life I have now. Would I have still become a wrestler? Even if I did, would my career have been the same? Would I have gone to the same places, met the same people? Just so many variablesÖ” I tried to keep my voice even and neutral, but my fingers drummed on my coffee cup in a nervous rhythm. One of Shawnís hands covered over mine, squeezing them tightly while his other tucked under my chin to turn my face towards his. I could see the question rolling around in his mind, and I smiled warmly at him, bringing one hand up to his cheek.

Itís not a bad thing, I promise. Iím not going all mopey and emo, I swear. Itís just something I think about every so often. As much as I love my family and the life Iíve had so far, I canít help but to wonder sometimesÖ” My head drifted back down to rest against his chest again, his steady heartbeat reverberating in my ear. “But as much as I wonder, I wouldnít change a thing about my life. Because if I did, I might not be where I am today. And thereís no place Iíd rather be.

I felt the tension melt out of his body, as his arms tightened around me once again and we sat and enjoyed the sound of the rain on the waves. ————— Well, that was more intense than I was anticipating. I mean, I totally expected Ophelia to bring everything she had to our little dance last week, but damn. That girl packs one hell of a wallop. Though about halfway through the match, something seemed to change. I canít quite put my finger on it, but it almost seemed like Pheely checked out, and something else took over… Oh well. Onwards and upwards, as they say. My debut match is done and dusted, and I got a tick in my W column. But that doesnít mean Iím sitting pretty. Nope, I know that the work is just beginning. If Iím going to go anywhere in this company, then Iíve got my work cut out for me. Ophelia certainly gave me one hell of an introduction to the level of competition I should be anticipating. And this week is no different. While it would be easy for me to write off Ricky as just a “party boy”, Iím not the kind of person to take someone at face value. Sure, he likes to have a good time. Who the hell doesnít in this day and age? The way the world is falling apart at the seams, I donít blame the guy for wanting to make the most of life while we still have things to celebrate. But I dug a little deeper. I checked out his previous matches here. Heís been with this company since day one. Took part in that batshit-crazy Blood Money event. Kudos to you on that, sir. That thing was a clustereff of epic proportions. Entertaining as all hell though. Then you got the distinction of being part of the first singles match on Venom, going up against Pixie Sloane. Now, Iíve seen that girl in action live and she is the real deal, no shame in a loss to her. But you definitely made her earn that one. And then, last week, you finally got that sweet taste of victory over Valkyrie. But if I could give you a friendly piece of advice? Hold on to that feeling, cause you wonít be getting it again this week. I said it last week, and Iíll say it again – I need this. I need this like I need air in my lungs. My career is on the biggest roll itís ever been on, and I am not ready to let it all slip away just yet. I came to Fight because I wanted new challenges, new opportunities. I wanted to know that every time I stepped into the ring, I was going up against world-class athletes. And I want to beat them. I want to push myself higher and further than Iíve ever been in my life. I want to feel the ache in my limbs and the pain in my bones and know that I gave everything in my body to earn that win. I want to rise up the ranks so fast I leave a trail of fire in my wake.

Higher.
Further.
Faster.

Hope youíre ready for me, Party Boy. Iím coming for ya.