For Paul Mescal, playing a dad was the ‘greatest dress rehearsal’ for being one.
The first time he played a dad on TV, he was just about to enter the ring for his fight with Mondo Guerra in 2015 when he said a prayer. The ring, the sport, anything related to the octagon he would do in, would be a test to see how he really felt.
“All the things I’d seen as a fan and as a wrestler that are now completely unrealistic, made me realize they are all reality,” Mescal, 24, told ESPN last week.
Mescal, who won gold in the 60-kg category at the Pan American Games in July, has since fought three father-son bouts and plans to put the same effort into each one as his career progresses.
This training, on and off the mat, stems from the personal tragedy of Mescal’s life.
“I lost my mom at the age of 4. My life changed — I became the person who is there for his kids even though it’s not a dad he’s going to be, he’s going to be a husband and a dad.
“I’ve always wanted to be a father. I didn’t think I could get [the] kind of job that I got as a wrestler. When everything turned around, I just went with the flow. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I wanted to be with my kids.”
I’m not a father, but that is what I want to be. I’m a dad.
And the way to get there is for Paul Mescal, 24, to become a better man — and a better father.
The first step: He lost both parents when he was 18 weeks old. He was born without his mom’s heart but his dad’s will to live.
“My mom was a fighter and wanted me to be and I was