May 22, 2022 (Land O’ Lakes, Florida)–Patrick Peterson-In Memoriam. On May 22, 2022 Patrick Peterson’s life (31) was tragically cut short at the hands of an alleged drunk driver. Patrick was jogging home from work at the time of this tragedy. He had just joyfully posted on Social Media about the success of his efforts to improve the timing of this fitness endeavor, literally, moments before his life was taken prematurely.
A former resident of New York, and childhood martial arts practitioner, Patrick suffered great hardships as a child. His exploitation at the hands of a trusted predator became the basis of a 1999 change to the Megan’s Law Bill, which, undoubtedly, benefitted more than two (2) decades of potential childhood sexual abuse victims.
In the wake of Patrick’s childhood trauma he suffered depression, suicidal ideation, and childhood bullying. However, he found hope and promise in the pursuit of the sport of wrestling. By his own account, the hard work and encouraging nature of his wrestling community were instrumental in building his confidence, self esteem, and physical fortitude.
Patrick is survived by a loving family, which includes his Mother, Tammy; his Father, Patrick; Stepfather, Dennis; Stepmother, Arlene; Sisters, Samantha, Amanda, and Dominque; and Brothers, Dennis, Robert, and Bradley.
As a tribute to Patrick we are publishing his very personal account of how wrestling transformed his life. The word “Taekwondo” could easily be substituted for wrestling in this story and along with the countless stories of personal improvement we hear and review every year. This account was written and posted just hours before he was senselessly killed.
“I would like to tell the story of wrestling and what it means to me.
My life has been difficult. I have been abused in countless ways, I was bullied in high school to the point where I had post-traumatic dreams about it until my mid-twenties, and I’ve also attempted suicide.
It got to the point whereby the age of sixteen, I told myself I would not live after 30. It was an age that was far enough off where I could see what most of the world had to offer, I thought.
I had never really been able to hold friendships or communicate with people on a deep level because of this. In the back of my mind, I was always self-sabotaging things because at any moment I could choose to give up and of course, by age thirty it would all be over. I would go into week-long seclusions just because of depression.
The few times I did choose to live and try to reshape life would also cause me to crawl back inside my hole. I often tell people I got a metal rod inside my leg but what I don’t tell them is that it’s because, on one of the single nights I was actively working out and jogging, the fates would have a car run a red light and plow through me.
Why continue working on myself when obviously the heavens had other plans?
Eventually, I would give up completely. By the time my mid-twenties rolled around, I ended up in complete isolation. All I did, for three to five years, was play League of Legends. I would wake up, play League of Legends, and go to sleep. Occasionally I might take a trip to the local 7-11 for food.
Then, one day, by chance I was watching a Street Fighter tournament on Twitch. This weird dirty blonde muscle-built dude was playing street fighter and he was set apart from the others just because he was physically imposing. That dude? Albert Einst—-Kenny Omega.
Kenny Omega opened the pathway to wrestling for me. I watch Kenny Omega play a street fighter, I watched Kenny in NJPW with Kota Ibushi and the Golden Lovers, and I saw him come out in full-out cosplay. It was at that moment that I realized that this guy is a full-on LGBT nerd who decided to also wrestle. I could do that!
For the first time, I decided not to lock myself away. Following the path that Kenny, then also at the time the starting point of AEW, I decided to try out at my first wrestling school. Obviously, I bombed completely because I had done nothing for the last three to four years but play League of Legends
My family, also shortly within that time span, would move to Florida to be near my niece. I told them that there was only a single condition that I would need to move down to Florida, a place where I had a lot of traumatic history.
I told them I still wanted to pursue wrestling. I saw the Lethal Academy, thought it sounded cool and went there. Having seen Jay Lethal on Being the Elite once or twice (sorry coach), I knew of the trainer, but I really only watched wrestlecircus on twitch, AEW, and NJPW at the time. I actively avoided WWE. Of course, by the time I was in school, I still hadn’t gotten past mental blocks. I gave up on myself many times. I was used to taking the easy route out. It was easier to give up on myself than it was to admit that I was weak and that I would have to keep pushing myself if I wanted to turn my dream into a reality.
I kept pushing myself, even when covid delayed training, and forced myself to not only continue to get stronger but also to learn how to be mentally strong as well (memory recall, meditation, etc.). I quit drinking soda and eating junk food. Lost a good forty to fifty pounds. Everything was going pretty alright.
Then, a freak accident happened, someone got hurt and spiraled out again. In the back of my mind, I continuously blamed myself for someone getting hurt. I hate hurting people because I have been hurt many times and know how it feels. I tried to deal with it by calling myself a bad guy to try to take on a heel persona, I tried just letting it go, but eventually, I internalized it as a lesson to be more responsible and don’t let my overconfidence get in the way of ring safety. This would add an additional year to my training before I debuted. I eventually did debut.
Now I’m learning how to communicate with people. Idle chatter, talking to veterans and looking for their wisdom, helping out at other promotions, watching indy wrestling matches wherever I can live, etc.
I don’t think, as a young person, there was ever a time when I realized my hardships were building foundations for who I would eventually bud into as an adult. I always wanted to be a hero.
Wrestling is more than just a hobby for me It’s my way of connecting with people, it’s a community, and more importantly, it’s a way to reach out to people who went through what I went through to let them know that everything is going to be okay.
Watashi ga kita.
I am here now.
May his memory be eternal! The family is asking donations in his name be made to “VibesLI.org” an organization that helps victims of sexual abuses and domestic violence.