New "Outside The Ring" - Roderick Strong Outside The Ring
February 24th, 2006 13:01
OUTSIDE THE RING: RODERICK STRONG
By Ross Forman

He didn’t have the perfect childhood, surrounded by the fabled white picket fence.

Roderick Strong dealt with some very serious personal issues from age 5 to 12, including family members with drug addictions to repeatedly moving from home to home. Eight times, he guesses, the family moved to a new address in Florida.

“It was tough and of course it affected me,” said Strong, 22, born in Wisconsin and raised in Florida. He graduated from Riverview High School in Brandon, Fla., in 2001 where he was a two-way football player. He then attended the University of South Florida after earning an academic scholarship.

“There were some really rough times, such as living in motels for week-long periods until (we) found an apartment. And you’d try to (make) friends because as a kid you really want to have that emotional tie, but I didn’t. “

At times, he was living in a single-wide trailer.

At times, he went to sleep without dinner – because there was none.

At times, he came home from school and then hours later went to sleep in an empty home – because his family was working.

“It was the best of the worst of times,” Strong said. “Even when things were the worst they could be, life seemed the best. Just because we didn’t have everything doesn’t, or didn’t, mean my family didn’t love me.

“As I think back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure, I would have liked to have had more friends and I would have liked to have had more of a ‘childhood,’ but I’d never ask for anything to be changed. One thing I definitely got from my childhood was having a big heart, appreciating people and just appreciating opportunities. That includes TNA. The opportunity I now have with TNA is huge. Ever since I decided to go full-speed ahead with wrestling, I wanted to make this my career; I wanted to make this my life. People who know me get tired of all the wrestling I talk about, of all the wrestling I watch on TV.”

Strong’s childhood hero on the mat was Dynamite Kid.

Strong has been on the TNA roster since last September.

“I hope people realize that, just because other people have (personal) problems, it’s not your fault,” he said. “Others may make bad decisions, but it’s not your fault. Kids tend to blame themselves for a lot of things, but they shouldn’t.”

Strong said those with past personal problems are doing much better, aided by a “very supportive family.”

And what about Strong himself?

“I’m very happy nowadays,” he said.

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Ross Forman is a sportswriter who regularly appears in several national publications, such as the Chicago Tribune and USA TODAY. He is a veteran pro wrestling writer and will be profiling TNA Wrestling stars in his continuing series, “Outside The Ring.” Anyone with story ideas or suggestions can email Ross at RossTNA@aol.com
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