Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson told his 112 million Instagram followers about his brief stint in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and thanked B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono for inspiring him to greater success.
During a break from filming his latest project, “Disney’s Jungle Cruise”, Johnson posted a video of himself watching the Lions on TV as they took on the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place.
The game brought back memories of his failure to crack the roster of the Calgary Stampeders, who were then coached by Buono, which he said turned out to be a turning point in his life.
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Cheers to dreams not coming true 🥃 Not an easy concept to process, but the idea that sometimes our biggest and most important dreams that DON’T COME TRUE are often times the BEST THING that never happened. I’m shooting JUNGLE CRUISE now and right before I get called to set, I look up and see a CFL (Canadian Football League) game on my TV. I do a double take and realize that’s the same field I played on when I played in the CFL. I do a triple take and see the very man who coached and mentored me, but ultimately had to cut me from the team, Wally Buono who is now head coach and GM of the BC LIONS in Vancouver. Playing ball, I was always the “hardest worker in the room” and did everything I could to make the CFL and then hopefully, make it to the NFL where I dreamed of having an All Pro/Super Bowl Champion football career. Instead, I was cut from the team, told I wasn’t good enough – and sent home with $7 bucks to my name. After years of blood, sweat, guts and tears, my dream was over. Fell into depression, didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Eventually, I picked myself back up again, said fuck this and refocused and committed myself to a different path. The rest is history. I’ve been there, so I encourage you to keep working hard and remember that sometimes our dreams that don’t come true, can ultimately become the best thing that never happened.
As the TV camera cut to the Lions sideline, Johnson points out his former coach.
“That guy right there, Wally Buono, was my coach when I played in the CFL for Calgary,” Johnson said.
“He was a mentor of mine. He ultimately cut me from the team, but the reason why I’m saying this is because it was such a defining time, that I appreciate that man so much. I appreciate playing on this very field.”
Johnson went on to say that getting cut from the CFL, which essentially ended his dream of playing professional football, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“Sometimes in life, something you want so badly, your dreams that don’t happen sometimes, they’re the best things that never happened.
“So for me, playing in the NFL was the best thing that never happened. I thank you CFL, I thank you Wally Buono. To everybody out there, keep working hard. Sometimes, your biggest dreams that don’t come true are the best things that never happened.”
Johnson has talked about his affection for Buono and the CFL in the past.
While filming “Skyscraper” in Vancouver this time last year, Johnson posted a video where he spoke of his love for the city.
“I was playing for the Calgary Stampeders, we were playing the B.C. Lions, I was so excited. Two days later I got cut, dreams shattered, sent home with seven bucks in my pocket.”
Johnson finished that video by telling his audience the lesson he learned is that the one thing we think we want may turn out to be the wrong path.
“So just have faith, and just keep that in mind and keep plugging away.”
Last week, Stampeders slotback Kamar Jorden tweeted a pre-game photo of himself wearing a No. 74 D. Johnson jersey.
Johnson thanked Jordan in a reply saying, “My career in the CFL was very short-lived but a lifetime of defining lessons.”
In a video posted to the B.C. Lions website following last year’s thank-you from Johnson, Buono described the future WWE and movie star as an “upbeat kind of guy, very positive.”
“If I helped him in any way to be what he is today, then I feel privileged that I was able to do that,” he said.
“I’m proud of him and for him to take a moment to acknowledge me makes me feel really good.”
— With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press