“What does it mean to be a man?”
“Do what you’re supposed to do. A man does what he’s supposed to do.”-Jocko Willink, as heard on The Order of Man podcast, Sept. 3, 2019 episode: Leadership Strategy and Tactics
Yes, we are unabashed WWE fans. But that’s not why I enjoyed Fighting With My Family—based on the real story of WWE wrestler Saraya-Jade Knight aka Paige. Her family is scrappy and lovely. Her parents said wrestling saved them from a life of crime. Brother Zak needed a big hug at various points in the story…and a slap to the back of the head for missing his own significant contributions.
Zak the Man
This post’s title refers to a scene between Paige’s two brothers in which the older one, an ex-con, tells younger brother Zak, “Of course she made it. She had you, didn’t she?” [or something like that] Paige always had her family to support her, wrestle with her, and accept her for whatever she decided to do.
While Zak spent half the film feeling sorry for himself and depressed that he wasn’t chosen by WWE, his direct effect on the neighborhood kids he coached in professional wrestling techniques was overshadowed by Paige’s success. Fortunately, his attitude changed after his older brother told him she did it because of him.
Zak changed those kids’ lives:
- He taught them they were worth something
- They could do difficult, scary things
- He helped them have fun and make friends
- They felt pride from self-improvement
- He trained a blind kid to wrestle! This kid went on to become a professional wrestler!
Manliness is usually seen as muscles and strength. For Zak Knight—coach, father, brother—taking care of his girlfriend and their baby, and coaching those kids, was the strongest, bravest, most powerful thing he could have done.
I’m glad Paige made it. However, I am so proud of Zak’s story and of Dwayne Johnson for recognizing the Knight family’s contribution to their community. As the executive producer and champion for the film’s creation, The Rock did good.
Even if you are not a WWE fan, you can appreciate the heart in this story and the way a man takes care of his responsibilities.
See the film and tell me your favorite part.
Featured image by Empire Cinemas.