We LIVE for stories of perseverance, grittiness, and determination. We hear them all the time from racers in our community, but we also love to report on inspirational, badass stories from OUTSIDE the Spartan Universe — stories that we can learn from, that can help us become even more unbreakable. In Tough News, we share what we're hearing, why it's important, and why Spartans need to pay attention.
It's not the first time this story has been told, but it never gets old.
In the Season 1 finale of Young Rock — an NBC sitcom that relives Dwayne
"The Rock" Johnson's early life — Johnson (portrayed by Uli Latukefu), then a senior in high school, arrives an hour late to a meeting with University of Miami head football coach Dennis Erickson, who had flown to his home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to offer him a full scholarship. Keep in mind that this wasn't any old meeting with any old coach. This was one of the premier college football programs in the country, amidst an incredible run of success, and Erickson was the man who would determine Johnson's football future.
This was every kid's dream come to life, and Dwayne had to make a strong impression.
And yet, despite the importance of the occasion, the future wrestler-turned-movie star showed up late because he refused to leave the gym before completing his workout in full.
Erickson and one of his coaches were initially offended by the perceived slight, but they quickly changed their tune when they saw the fire in Johnson's eyes, and his desire and willingness to get better and stronger at all costs.
SEE IT: Young Rock Shows Up Late to the Meeting of His Life
"I was working out and had a choice to cut my workout short OR be a beast and finish strong," Johnson wrote on Instagram when recounting the memory. "I finish strong. They were pissed. Until I came home, sweaty as all hell and I looked them in the eyes and was honest about finishing the workout. They actually LOVED that 😁💪🏾."
Johnson, of course, did get his full scholarship, and the very next year he played defensive tackle on the Hurricanes' undefeated national championship-winning team.
To this day, more than three decades later, Johnson brings the same passion to each and every one of his workouts.
Nearly everything has changed in his life, but that dedication has remained a constant.
"Everyone in my personal and professional life understands that I’ll always finish my training," the 49-year-old wrote on Instagram. "It’s a psychological anchor to always finish the job."
The Spartan Takeaway
The Spartan lifestyle is about finishing what you start and persevering to the finish list — the rest be damned. And if it makes you uncomfortable? Good. That's the idea. You're supposed to be uncomfortable. You're supposed to do hard shit. You're supposed to take chances. That's how you get better. That's how you get stronger. That's how you set yourself apart from the pack and become unbreakable.
More Tough News: A Year Outside in a Tent? This Brave, Badass Kid Said Yes, Please.
The Spartan lifestyle also stresses routine and consistency. You have to put the work and the effort in, over and over and over again. There's no cheating. No shortcuts. No compromising. No easy way out.
In this instance, Johnson kept his eye on the prize, knowing that hard work almost always pays off handsomely in the end. His prospective coaches knew they had a warrior and a winner in their midst, and they were proven right.