During his longstanding wrestling and boxing career, it’s highly unlikely that anybody thought Marc Mero— or Johnny B. Badd, as he was known in the industry— would ever turn out to be a motivational speaker.
And not just any motivational speaker, but a damn good one at that.
Since retiring from the leagues of the WCW and WWE, the former professional wrestler has since created a non-profit organization focused on anti-bullying advocacy, called Champion of Choices.
He travels throughout the United States, lecturing to students of all ages about positive thinking, love, and good life choices.
This past May, in honor of Mother’s Day, the former bad boy wrestler took to a school auditorium to deliver an extremely powerful message to a group of 6, 7, and 8th graders.
The message, which focused on themes of death, love, regret, and redemption, ultimately brought the group of middle schoolers to tears within 4 minutes flat.
The former bad boy begins his speech by explaining the relationship he had with his mother; he describes being embarrassed by her enthusiastic support as a teen and annoyed by her constant checking up on him as a drinking-and-partying adult.
At about the 1:30 mark, Marc tells the story of being overseas at a wrestling tournament in Japan when receives the news of his mother’s death.
He says, “I just threw the phone down. I ran out of my hotel room. I took the elevator to the lobby. When the doors opened up, I just ran out in the street […] I walked down the middle of the street in Hiroshima, Japan, and I remember looking up and I remember saying, “Mom, I am so sorry.”
At this moment, the tears begin to roll, Marc’s words resonating heavily with each of the young preteens.
The emotions grow deeper as he describes his mother’s funeral, saying, “I was so nervous to walk up to her casket, so I just stood way in the back. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Mom, please wake up. Please, get up.’”
He explains how his whole life was about being a millionaire and “winning the race,” but that he has since learned the true value of life and family and how quickly it can all be taken away.
He leaves the teens with a final message, saying:
“I no longer live in time, I live in moments. And it’s not what’s in your pocket that matters, it’s what’s in your heart that truly matters. Love is just a word until somebody comes along and gives it meaning. You, you’re the meaning.”
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