In our house it’s no big secret that I like Dwayne Johnson otherwise known as “The Rock.”
I have his shoes, his clothes, my margarita’s have his tequila in them and when a new movie comes out we are the first to see it. If he is selling it we are buying it.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the Rock isn’t a great actor or even all that talented, but the message that he shares are generally positive, full of exciting energy and at time a l little raw. He’s easy to like.
Starting out, he wasn’t a polished, plucked and rehearsed actor but someone who had to fight his way to the top and seemed to always be grateful for his success.
Many years ago, when Baywatch came out, yes, I bought the entire Baywatch “The Rock” bathing suit, top and bottom! I took a picture of it and Tweeted it out. The next day, I got an “atta boy” from The Rock!!!
That sealed it for me, he was an actual human! Not just a “star.”
That was then…This is now.
While I like The Rock, my youngest son is and always will be my hero. He is eight years old and on the autism spectrum. When he was three, he wasn’t able to speak and to sum it up, it looked like it was going to be a very long and difficult path for him as a child and our family as we looked toward the future.
He started working with speech, occupational, physical and all kinds of therapists with the hopes of helping him develop the skills he could use to make things easier for him as he got older. If you’re a parent of a special needs child then you know how to “pray in baby steps” and every small milestone from making eye contact to smiling at you, feels like the 4th of July fireworks finale! It’s amazing.
Cut to five years later and he has never given up on himself. He tries harder than any person I have ever met, he is my real life “Rock.” He is fully verbal, goes to a “typical” school, participates in class, has friends and has grown and developed in ways that we could only have thought of in our dreams, but were too afraid to say out loud.
While he continues to grow, he is still “the weird kid.” Mommies seem to “forget” him for playdates or have to cancel at the last minute because well, you name it. It’s heartbreaking, but we focus on what he has accomplished and keep on going.
How does The Rock come into play in this story. Glad you asked. Last Fall our son once again did something that went beyond anything we could have ever dreamed and basically scared the heck out of us.
The local community theater was putting on the play Moana, and he announced that he wanted to try out. We looked at what he needed to be done and one of the requirements was he had to audition, on a stage…by himself.
I immediately called the ladies who were in charge and went into my “he’s on the autism spectrum and I need to be in the room” speech. They politely listened and told me “This is the theater, you are allowed to be different, to be original, to be you…he will be fine.”
My sweet, strong, little boy looked at me in the eyes and said “Dad I am going to be Maui, just like The Rock.” While we tried to explain there is no shame in being a “wave” or a palm tree, he wouldn’t hear it. “I am going to be Maui!”
You guessed it, our little boy went into a theater by himself, stood on the stage and crushed it. He got the part, he was Maui!
There are no words to express the pride in his confidence and bravery. He once again did what he set out to do.
This was September and I got the idea to send The Rock a note on social media about our son and what he did. Fully understanding that he has 90 million fans all wanting something, but with three months before the play, I knew an “atta boy” would fill our little boys heart with even more joy and pride.
So I tried, waited and nothing. He’s a busy guy and yes, I know he has “self important Hollywood types” running his social, but even they would have to see the note and understand how a “thumbs up” would bring such joy to a child. Nothing.
I tried again and again for months and nothing. Then I started to really look at the Rocks social media, a good majority of his posts are about his movies, his clothes, his tequila on repeat. If he did give a shout out, it was to someone who was talking about his clothes, his tequila his movies. Usually they were kind of good looking and with a lot of followers.
I wasn’t going to give up and through a little horse trading, I got the number to the Rocks agent, Brad S. from the William Morris Agency, in California and got through to his assistant. In Hollywood terms this is a big deal. I took a slow breath and explained everything to the assistant, he politely listened and told me it was an amazing story, but there was nothing he or they could do. Not even a “like.”
Brad. S’s assistant explained “Even the Make a Wish kids have to know someone to get him to do anything for them.” He explained and confirmed that his social has become an outlet for his brand.
The Rock had become a “star.” Floating somewhere up in the sky, shining bright but untouchable and full of hot air.
While I had wished for something different, the truth was what I had expected and feared.
After that, looking at The Rock on social media was different for me, it wasn’t entertaining or funny or hopeful, it was gross. One long stream of ways for a guy who is worth about 300 million dollars to make….more.
We never shared any of this with our son, and yes he was an amazing Maui which is all that matters . I am sure at some point my kids may notice that I don’t wear his clothes, shoes or care about this movies or his new TV show, all about… him.
While it would be easy to be mad at The Rock, the better lesson is not to put your faith in people who are famous, my real hero, has always been right in front of me, eight years old and never stops believing in himself.
Thanks for sharing Dave! Way to crush it Lil Man!
Keep pursuing your dreams!
Great story and lesson. Sometimes we don’t have to look very far to find true hero’s. Ohana over Everything!!!
Good for your son and you are a good dad. The reality is, you may have some unrealistic expectations which is a selfish act in nature. Dwayne is 1 of almost 8bn people on this planet, he gets a letter and post every second about a kid.
You canceling him out because he did not personally take the time to acknowledge you says something about you.
Even if he is selfish himself, this is not about him. Wish you well and keep fighting the good fight with your boy.
Thank you for reading. Expecting Dwayne to do anything that doesn’t benefit Dwayne is unrealistic. You are right. But being a part of his team you would think that one of you, like the many people who monitor his social media do in fact have the time to do something as simple as “like.” But as his agency confirmed, if it doesn’t expand the brand, it’s not happening.
Michael Jordan had a clause in his contract called “The Love Of The Game Clause.” Meaning, he loved basketball so much, he was allowed to stop, anywhere, at any time and play basketball. It was before social media, he just loved playing.
As far as I can tell, the only thing Dwayne is passionate about is making money for Dwayne?
Great piece. Shows that your priorities are in the right place. Family really is everything.
Thank you Doug. Coming from a great dad like you, that means the world:).
Good story Dave…very heartfelt…kids., any kid are always more interesting anyway. Showbiz is mostly bullshit as we both know…real is better.