So Mark hits me with the news that he had to pick up some wrestler from the airport at the crack of dawn on Saturday, and because they’re not heading to Red Deer for the evening’s show until noon (Red Deer is only a couple of hours south of here), said wrestler would have to come and park at our place for a few hours.
Mark had the grace to ask if I minded, although he did tack the question on at the very end.
I shrugged and said I had no intentions of entertaining the man. Mark could do all the talking and distracting. The two of them could talk shop for four hours and I could get on with my writing schedule in blissful peace.
Then Mark dropped the other shoe. “Um…he’s Australian. From Byron Bay.”
Which made this wrestler a mate from the olde sod, but from the wrong bloody side. Byron Bay is in New South Wales. Oh well, we can’t all be perfect.
I sniffed and said I thought I might be able to spare a moment or two to say hello.
Scott Justice, I found out, is really young. As in (god, I can’t even believe I’m saying this out loud and in public) around the same age as my oldest son. I was frantically washing dishes when he walked in, and my first impression was oh my god, I’ve just seen my first surfing dude since I left high school. Bleach blonde hair, tan, and white teeth. And charm. Lots and lots of Australian charm.
Australians have this cultural bias towards heading overseas to travel and see the world as soon as they’re old enough for their own passport. It’s hardwired into the brain because we imbibe so much foreign television, movies, books, magazines and more. We think globally in a way that most countries just don’t. Australians travel compulsively and often. But they nearly always come home. The idea of upping stakes and moving to a different continent just to break into a career choice is something we might consider, but few would actually follow through on — especially guys in their early twenties, like Scott. But that’s what Scott did.
He moved to Canada on a working visa just to break into professional wrestling. He had no friends and few contacts when he moved here. His one ambition was to move closer to the heart of professional wrestling to try to break in. He’s been in Canada for a couple of years, and he’s making waves in the professional wrestling scene.
But that’s not what prompted this post.
I offered him breakfast, and he asked hopefully if I had any Vegemite. We didn’t, but we knew where to get some, so Mark took him to our local Save-on-Foods and bought him a couple of jars of (very expensive imported) Vegemite, and he tucked into toast and Vegemite for a late breakfast.
He must have been suffering from the lingering effects of concussion from an earlier match, because throughout the day, he kept vomiting. Right up until showtime in Red Deer, he was sick to his stomach, and spent most of the time lying down and queasy. Now, a lot of guys, even professional wrestlers, would have bailed on the match. Mark watched Scott, though, three minutes before his entrance get up from where he was lying, shake it off, square his shoulders, and head out to pull off a wrestling match every bit as good as any other wrestler out there than night.
There wasn’t a murmur of complaint from him the entire day. He met his commitment to the booker and delivered.
Professionalism is one thing. This was on another plane entirely. Call it true grit, sheer bloody stubbornness, insanity, or the courage of youth…but it’s the sort of strength that makes the difference between good and great.
It’ll be interesting to see where Scott ends up in the next few years.