The newest episode of The "Or Else" podcast is up on Soundcloud. On Episode 13, POP with C Red, we talk to RPro original C Red, who was the driving force behind the POP (Positive Outreach Program).
I never knew C Red prior to RPro, but I had heard of him. Still, no story could really capture the essence of him. Clothed in red, he was quite a character in and out of the ring. I really enjoyed his work, as did the fans. C Red and da Soul Touchaz were very popular.
I remember talking to C Red about his idea for the POP program. I Immediately loved the idea and promised to help in any way I could. Having had a bit of a rough early childhood, I knew how much young students would love RPro to be involved in any way.
The first POP event was held at the Southside Occupational Academy, where C Red teaches and wonderful work is being done with students who have various challenges in their lives. I thought I would be in my usual role as reporter, but C Red informed me I would be speaking with the rest of the RPro team, which included Billy Corgan.
I was unprepared and surprised to be included, but I figured if I was going to speak, I would tell the truth. I spoke of my childhood problems and how I shouldn't even had been alive. I just figured the students needed to see that obstacles could be overcome. They needed to hear that there are many roads in life.
I started late in life as a writer/ I never expected to be part of a wrestling company. Yet, here I was, sharing a stage with the owners and other wrestlers. Even if I started younger, I could never have been a wrestler, but I could still be involved, be productive and still have a lot of fun. I wanted to tell the students that if I could be where I am today, they could make it, too.
I think my RPro team was a bit shocked at my story, since I had never told it to any of them. I've never even told it to most of my close friends or here. I simply felt I owed it to C Red and the kids to be honest and tell the whole story.
After the event, Billy brushed my handshake away in favor of a big hug. He commented that I was really a part of the RPro team at that point. That meant a lot to me.
Driving home from that event and all future OP events, I felt amazing. It's cliche, but if we affected one student in a positive way, every effort was worth it. Looking at the faces and hearing their words, I know POP touched many students.
I owe that all to RPro and specifically C Red. I hope I conveyed my appreciation properly in Episode 13 of The "Or Else" podcast. I didn't want to go into all of this on the podcast, because it was about C Red, not me. Johngy's Beat is my forum though.
In addition to POP, C Red has been a great friend. He's been great to me with interviews, casual chatting and just goofing around. You just have to like this guy!
Check out The "Or Else" podcast Episode 13: POP With CRed on Soundcloud. You can also check out all of the other episodes of The "Or Else" podcast.
Tommy Else, C Red and me in Glen Ellyn, IL-May 2018.