Moneymaker shares wrestling stories for “Never Give Up Day”

Jon Pill
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Posted on: August 18, 2021 10:54 pm EDT

It turns out that it’s Never Give Up Day today. In a surprise twist, it also turns out that Never Give Up Day is a real thing, celebrated by some people worldwide. This came as no surprise to America’s Cardroom, who hauled their sponsored pros Chris Moneymaker, Jeff Boski, and Jon Pardy out to talk about a time that not giving up worked out for them.

“Every person faces adversity at times, even our ACR Team Pros,” the @ACR_POKER Twitter account wrote. “Read some inspirational first-hand stories on “Never Give Up Day” in our Big Blind Blog article.”

Boksi’s tale is a borderline humble brag. The guy blew $140,000 on WSOP Main Event entries, stuck with it and cashed in event 15. Lesson learned. Always chase your losses.

In Moneymaker’s case, he went for the non-obvious option. Where a tale about poker might have seemed on-brand, he went with a high school wrestling tale. One in which he beat seven bells out of the only female wrestler in his local area.

Shaken Moneymaker

“I was a good soccer player going into my sophomore year in high school but wanted to pick up another sport.  I liked boxing and physical sports, so I decided to try out for the high school wrestling team,” Moneymaker explained.

Unfortunately, being the only wrestler in his school weighing less than 119 lb he was thrown in the deep end by auto-qualifying for the >119lb weight class. It also meant every wrestler he trained with at his school had a weight advantage.

“I went a big 0-15 in my wrestling matches that year,” Moneymaker explained. “Mostly being pinned. I was not good obviously, but I decided to stick with it, and I went to wrestling camps over the summer to try and get better.”

With another kid joining his weight class in the following year, he was able to rack up his first win. This qualified him to play wrestling in an exhibition match in front of all his peers.

“To make matters worse, my first opponent for the year (for this match where everyone was watching), was against the only girl wrestler in the area […]. Getting beaten up by a girl is not good for your reputation. If I did win, then I beat up a girl. It seemed like a no-win situation that was destined to kill me socially either way.”

Long story short, he beat the girl in 45 seconds and no one cared either way because wrestling has been largely out of fashion as a sport since the Greeks fell before to Phillip of Macedon.

Keep calm and carry on

Moneymaker’s wholesome college athletics tale is in brutal contrast to Jon Pardy’s tale.

Pardy starts from a similar place, training hard to be a professional hockey player. But an injury in his first year as a pro sent him down a grim spiral.

“I spent the next 6-7 years lost in a whirlwind,” Pardy wrote. “I bounced around random jobs (cook, server, salesman) but legit had lost all passion for everything and anything.”

He got on Big Brother Canada, but “fell into a deep hole of addiction” and found himself homeless, living on friends’ couches, hammering back drugs, and battling a mental health crisis. “I was headed down a dark path, and I was doing nothing to stop it. I felt like I was literally [sic] on a ‘highway to hell’ and I couldn’t find the brakes.”

Then Bill Perkins and the thirst lounge stepped in and everything changed. Pardy learned poker, got clean, and now fronts for a major poker site.

“If I’d have just given up and accepted the hole that I was in was going to be my life,” Pardy wrote. “If I hadn’t taken a chance […] I promise I wouldn’t be anywhere close to the man I am today.”

Inspiring stuff.

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT