Past: Killarney Cougars
Present: Howard Gairy Wrestling Academy
Future: Douglas College Royals
As a 13-year-old boy, Marc Magano was drawn to the flash and fame of the WWE, a scripted entertainment venture that could no longer be called a sport federation.
Nearly five years later, the wrestler is a self-disciplined and committed athlete who won bronze for his country at the 2011 Pan Am Games and has twice won the Canadian national championship, once as a Grade 10 student and then two years later during his graduating year.
Magano, 18, doesnt have to fake anything.
The Grade 8 boy who wanted to get jacked like his idols and run the ring is a mellow, soft-spoken older brother to five siblings. He has gained the confidence to know his dedication and hard work are reward enough. But Magano didnt just work hard. He asked too much of himself and needed to take a year-long break from the contact sport that brought him teammates, medals, purpose and pride.
His national championships came two years apart because Magano walked away from wrestling to try boxing and to turn his back on the unreasonable demands of a former club.
"I was overtraining," he said in a characteristically low, hushed voice. "I burnt out and I just wasnt having any fun."
Once again a spectator, Magano was drawn back into the ring. "I went to watch my friend wrestle at the B.C. Summer Games and it made me want to wrestle again," he said. He connected with the coaches at the Howard Gairy Wrestling Academy. "They encouraged me and I realized how much wrestling can benefit me."
"Marc is the kid all Canadian coaches are fighting for, but he has chosen to stay local," said Frank Mensah, who coaches Magano along with Garfield Gairy. "I will be surprised if Marc is not a medalist at the Olympics if he continues to train this hard and smart."
Magano is enrolled at Douglas College in a business transfer program that will lead him to Simon Fraser University where he will train under Canadian Olympic coach Dave McKay.
Greg Mar was the principal at Killarney secondary when Magano walked into the school gym in search of a wrestling team. A year later he was its captain.
"It was evident he was a very talented wrestler," said Mar, who remembered Magano as very interested and quiet.
No flash or bang needed. Magano is better than all the rest.