He used to tell me a story of when he was picking my family up from the airport in St. John’s for our summer vacation in 1992. He came a few weeks earlier to work on our house in Carbonear. A group of wrestlers from the former World Wrestling Federation (WWF) piled off the same plane we were on.
Wrestlers like the Undertaker, who arrived with Paul Bearer, Brett Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage and Sid Justice were all part of the group. Obviously, they weren’t in character. But my dad recognized them.
It was probably around then that I started paying attention to wrestling. It’s not really my thing now, but it did start a fascination into the world of professional fighting. And I know, pro wrestling isn’t real. But I was a kid.
Back when I was in junior high, there were a lot of wrestlers that were household names, like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the members of D-Generation X, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Chyna.
One name that many may remember is Bill Goldberg. A few weeks ago, the former WCW World Heavyweight Champion made his way back on to the pro wrestling scene when he accepted a challenge from Brock Lesner. Lesner fought in the UFC in between his pro wrestling career.
I’m not a wrestling fan now, but there’s a reason I took an interest in this.
Some may remember I wrote a story on a local MMA fighter earlier this year. Well, I have an interest in the sport, and because of it I’ve followed some of the professional fighting circuits for a little while. Most recently, Glory Kickboxing has been on my radar. Which brings me to my Goldberg connection.
From kindergarten to Grade 5 when I lived in Ontario, I went to school with a guy named Simon Marcus. Me and Simon never got along back then and always got into arguments, likely because I was a know it all (and still am).
We buried the hatchet a long time ago. We were kids and that’s what kids do.
Simon went on to hold pro titles in Muay Thai in Thailand and became a Glory Kickboxing world champion.
The long retired Goldberg had a training session with Simon earlier this year. During a casual interview that same day, 49-year-old Goldberg was asked if he would get back in the ring, and was handed a Brock Lesner T-shirt. He blew his nose in it and ripped it apart while saying, “Brock, you’re next.”
Just over a month later, Goldberg returned to the ring after his 12-year hiatus to accept a challenge from Lesner. He received a lengthy welcome of cheers and hollers from the crowd at WWE Raw in Denver Oct. 17.
It felt a little nostalgic watching the clip of Goldberg in the ring. Watching Goldberg get back in the ring and knowing that he trained with my childhood classmate was a little bit exciting for me.
Something I rarely tell people is that Simon had a huge impact on my life. Having someone, especially my peer, constantly challenge me as a child enabled me to develop confidence, an ability to stand up for what I believe in, and it definitely helped me grow a thicker skin.
Looking at him now, knowing how far he’s come in life and to see how hard he works every day to be the best version of himself that he can motivates me.
Seeing Goldberg get back in the ring after all this time, and knowing that he trained with Simon makes me realize how far people can come, regardless of where they come from, the time that has passed or the obstacles that get in the way.
I am going to continue to follow Simon’s career (his Facebook page is Simon The ONE Marcus) and maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel like a kid again if I get to I watch Goldberg fight Lesner.
— Melissa Jenkins is the editor of the Northern Pen on the Great Northern Peninsula and the Labrador Straits. She can be reached at email@example.com
Editor's Note: Goldberg fought and beat Lesnar this past weekend in Melissa's hometown of Toronto, where she went to school with Simon Marcus.