I’d like to think that I’m the adaptable sort.
It’s true that I excel at being the conductor of the orchestra. The one with all the answers. The leader of the charge. It comes with the territory of being a classic Type A personality.
Sue me, and put “Scrupulous Planner” on my tombstone.
But sometimes, those best laid plans go awry, as they have a tendency to do. And when that happens, I always feel the gears in my head start turning, and my brain gets to working out how to best maneuver around those pesky little wrenches that get thrown into the works.
Because, y’see, it’s never enough to just adapt to the situation.
I absolutely have to conquer it.
October 27, 2019
Mississippi Palisades State Park
Carroll County, IL
When all is said and done, Rumble at the Rock will go down as one of the most non-traditional events I’ll have ever taken part in in the entirety of my career.
And non-traditional events with a non-traditional match call for non-traditional training.
On its surface, a Guard Tower match seems fairly straightforward: first person to retrieve the tag belts from the top of the 60 foot tower wins. And if you’re the kind of person who believes that anything about High Octane Wrestling is “straightforward,” then I have an oceanfront condo in Kansas to sell you.
I fully believe there might be an obstacle course component on the way from the Pier to the Guard Tower, or actual guards in the tower shooting rubber – or real – bullets at Eric or Zion, or Hollywood, or myself. Because nothing in this place is ever easy.
I will say this: Zion and Hollywood may have competed at prior Rumbles at the Rock before, so they may know what this event entails, but nobody has ever competed in a Guard Tower match before. This is a first-of-its-kind match.
For once, everyone’s on equal footing.
Or so it seems.
I don’t know what the Order boys or Eric’s been doing to prepare for this match. Where I’m concerned? As soon as I found out we’d have to be climbing a structure with a bunch of stairs or having to shimmy up metal support beams, I upped my cardio considerably by running the stairs at Raymond James Stadium and visiting rock climbing gyms while I was home in Tampa. And on the road with HOW? Finding some trails and forest preserves outside of the city limits and doing some trail running and rock climbing with rented equipment.
It’s here, outside Chicago, and promptly following the Rumble’s go-home show, that my adaptability’s about to be put to the test.
I’m two miles into a run on the Palisades Park’s High Point Trail when my cell pings and buzzes incessantly. Reception’s not the greatest out here, so texts are about all I can get.
I stop and pull over to the side of the trail. Wipe sweat from my brow. Curls are plastered against the crown of my head.
I blink, do a double-take.
Other messages and notifications from MJ, Jack, and tweets litter the front of my phone’s home screen but again, shoddy reception. I didn’t get notified. Dan’s the only one I want to reply to right now anyway.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Seconds pass. Feels like hours.
I surely am not.
I start thinking. Full-on damage control mode. Because now, I’m in the middle of training for a title defense and now I’m partnerless.
I could do it on my own. Fuck it. One woman wrecking crew.
I could definitely find someone else. Bring in an outsider; a ringer.
I got you. Don’t worry.
Immediately, I shoot back with…
Then you’ll be pulling double duty. You really want to do that?
And, in classic Dan Ryan mode, his response?
Fuck yeah I do.