The Rock Explains Why Failing To Make The NFL Was The Greatest Thing That Could Have Happened To Him
“It’s the best thing that never happened.”
It’s hard to argue that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson isn’t a living, breathing success story. He not only rose through the ranks of the grueling WWE circuit to become an internationally known champion professional wrestler, but he then managed to parlay that celebrity into a career as one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood history.
However, like so many other success stories, his journey includes failures that left him discouraged, heartbroken, and doubting himself. On his way to the NFL, Johnson suited up for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League only to get cut days later, derailing whatever plans and hopes he harbored for a pro football career.
Dwayne Johnson was on Stamps practice roster in 1995. He later gained fame as a wrestler and actor @TheRock #TBT http://t.co/v704KgwrLq— Calgary Stampeders (@Calgary Stampeders)1411662341.0
Situated on a high-rise balcony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Johnson used his backdrop to explain how the failure shaped him and his trajectory toward stardom.
In the clip, he states (transcript via FTW):
“I’m gonna show you guys this view. It is spectacular of one of my favorite cities in the world: Vancouver, Canada. Look, I’ve dropped my blood and sweat in this city, wrestled multiple matches in this city, shot big movies in this city, but one thing that a lot of people don’t know that I wanted to share with you guys is when I was 22 years old, I came to this city for the first time. I was playing in the Canadian Football League, playing my first pro football game. I was playing for the Calgary Stampeders. We were playing the BC Lions. I was so excited.
Two days later, I got cut [laughs]. Dreams shattered, sent home with seven bucks in my pocket. I was like, ‘Wait no, I gotta play in the NFL eventually. Those are my big goals. That’s my dream.’ You realize that playing in the NFL was the best thing that never happened because it got me here.
You gotta realize: We’re gonna get our ass kicked. We’re gonna get the [expletive] kicked out of us. You gotta get up. You gotta have faith that the one thing you wanted to happen oftentimes is the best thing that never happened, so have faith and just keep that in mind and keep lugging away.”
None of this may serve as a revelation, and Johnson enjoys the benefits of both success and hindsight as he muses on his failures and struggles. But his words remain imminently relatable and keep with the star’s accessible and grateful demeanor.
In fact, in 2014, he offered a similar brief sentiment in response to the Calgary Stampeders posting a throwback pic of the Hollywood star during his stint with the team.
@calstampeders $7 bucks in my pocket when Wally released me. Defining low point, but motivated me to do more. #Grateful #Grind #UncleWally— Dwayne Johnson (@Dwayne Johnson)1411666963.0
Johnson’s Instagram account is full of self-reflection and a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.