The Meaning of a Name
Mark was the best wrestler in the state. He may have been the best wrestler in the country.
He was big, muscular and had an instinct for exactly how to finish an opponent quickly and
efficiently. He started wrestling when he was very young, and as he grew it became
part of his being. Mark was very popular. As he wrestled throughout his school career,
people would come from far and wide to see him ply his sport.
During one of his tournaments, he learned a move that the crowds loved. Using leverage,
he picked up his opponent and slammed him down in a way to cause the mat to emit a sound
that can best be described as "crishhh". The people in the stands stood and screamed
in unison, "crishhh, crishhh, crishhh"- until Mark stood up and waved. They roared their
approval and continued to call out, "crishhh, crishhh, crishhh". This special ovation
followed him from tournament to tournament.
While on the wrestling team in college, the government asked for the school to send
the team on a goodwill tour to Mexico. It was part of a cultural exchange between
governments. The team packed up and traveled on a whirlwind tour in which they wrestled
volunteer residents in eighteen different cities. The newspapers had publicized the
tour so well that by the time the team left, a group of over one hundred and twenty
accompanied them, at their own expense. As Mark wrestled time and again, the crowd,
in their now famous cheer, would scream loudly, "crishhh, crishhh, crishhh", every time
Mark would both begin and end one of his always successful bouts.
The tour seemed to take the wind out of Mark. After only six days of constant exhibitions
and travel, everything was a blur. On that evening he tossed and turned and just could
not relax enough to sleep. Finally, as the first rays poked over the horizon, he decided
to go jogging to try to get his mind and body back in sync.
As he moved through street after winding street, his mind melded with the rhythm
of his feet. Mark rounded one of the blocks and heard a scream for help coming
from one of the shack dwellings. What was unusual was that the language was English
and he could not remember hearing anything but Spanish being spoken throughout their tour.
He poked his head into the shack where a doctor was bent over a small boy, his hands
positioned through an incision in the boy's body. The doctor was Mexican but had
developed an unusual habit when stressed to speak English, in which he was fluent. Mark
asked if he could help. He said that the boy had an inflamed appendix and that it had
to come out. If it was not removed, it would burst in the boy's body and he would
die. The problem was that if he moved his hands from the sides of the incision, it would
cause the inflamed appendix to burst. The doctor had to hold open the incision
while another set of hands would have to lift the organ up so he could make the
cut, and then, the organ would have to be moved outside the body before it broke open.
Without hesitation Mark placed his hands inside the incision, cradled the appendix and
slowly lifted. The doctor cut the two ends and tied them off. Mark in a slow smooth
careful motion lifted the bulging appendix out of the boy and placed it in a bucket
at the side of the cot. As soon as it hit the bottom of the bucket, it burst
and disintegrated. The doctor finished closing the incision and thanked Mark. He said
that if he had not come along at that time the boy most certainly would have died.
The parents of the boy went up to Mark, clasped his hands into theirs and said
in a low thankful voice, "crishhh, crishhh, crishhh". Mark was stunned. These people
could not possibly have known of his wrestling. The doctor said that in their
particular dialect crishhh meant "one who gives life through kindness". It was the
highest compliment that could be given in this village.
Mark made his way back to where the team was staying. He said nothing of the
amazing experience he had that day. The next time he took to the wrestling mat, the crowd
in their usual fashion cheered their famous cry both before and after the inevitable
victory. Yet for Mark, that cheer, now and forever, held a far different meaning.