I am reeling and somewhat speechless, currently trying to process the apparent passing of my friend JP Balson, at the age of 28.
I had met JP briefly a few times at the start of the decade, but really had the chance to get to know him the time or two he worked for me as a cameraman under Michael Moran on my PRIME TV tapings in Ohio, and especially when he started regularly working camera/production under Michael Sorg for IWC and a few other local shows.
The first thing that endeared him to me (other than that amazing head of hair!) was his playfully smug and sarcastic sense of humor, that I naturally related well with. But, it was very obvious to me, that beneath that, was a very intelligent individual, that cared very deeply and was very passionate about his interests. The help and moral support he’d give to his buddy Logan Shulo no doubt played a part, however small or great, tangible or otherwise, in Logan’s growth and eventual realization of his dream. In spite of his lack of experiences as a performer, JP was extremely smart to the business, leading to many spirited debates between us. If I would have ever decided to take on another regular booking position in wrestling, JP would have absolutely been one of the minds I’d be regularly picking.
This doesn’t feel real to me yet, and I doubt it will for a few weeks. Not until I get home late at night from the next show we would have been working together, and I don’t get that amped up 4am Facebook message from him, meticulously running through everything that went right and wrong about the day’s events. He entertained me, and he challenged me. He was a great motivation, and a better friend.
When things like this happen, part of you almost can’t help but think selfishly. Upset that you’ve lost a friend. Freaked out that you’re saying goodbye to someone who was the same age as you. In disbelief because your last conversation with them was less than 24 hours earlier. Regretting that that conversation was only four lines long because you were multi-tasking on the phone.
Times like this, it’s cliche to say the usual lines… tell everyone how you feel about them, appreciate each day like its your last. And it’s true. Everyone who I’ve encountered in my journey, and especially those who have been important parts of it for the past few years, I have a special place for in my heart. Whether you put up with me when I was not the easiest person to put up with, or if we’ve always gotten along, I appreciate you all in helping me grow as a person and be who I am today and am continually evolving into being. I just wish it wasn’t the events of today motivating me to say that.
I apologize for the length of this, and likely rambling nature, but thank anyone who took the time to read it all. This is really the only therapy I know.
I’m not entirely sure what exactly I believe as far as what happens after we pass, but I do believe there is definitely some sort of existence or being or energy that takes place once we leave our physical bodies. That said, I’m sure JP is still with us right now in some form, and I believe he’ll be keeping an eye on things. And if he’s somehow reading this now, I have two messages specifically for him – 1) I love and miss you. 2) Start making a list of all the booking & commentary screw-ups you encounter while you’re watching over us. We’re gonna have a long time to debate them whenever I see you again down the line.