The wrestling business is often about long rides between towns in order to stand in the spotlight for a short time each night. For some, they get lost in the moment; they crave the attention, live for it and it becomes their all-consuming reward. Other wrestlers have a different focus. Some have their eyes on a different prize. That reward is the responsibility of family.

Cody Deaner admits that wrestling is in his blood. The jovial mat man loves wrestling. It has brought him from small venues in front of a dozen fans to the spotlight of television in front of millions of viewers. It is his rush. It is what he lives for. As much as he has a passion for the grappling game, his true obsession is being a father.

Being on the road, away from family can be tough on the young father of two. Since leaving TNA, Deaner has worked a full-time job as an educator and continues to wrestle a busy schedule on the weekends and during vacation time. Since the arrival of his first child three and a half years ago, he has found that he loves wrestling but his heart and soul are with his family.

How does a wrestler, on the cusp of returning to the big time, balance wrestling, his job and more importantly, time with his children?

“I am just selective with my bookings,” said Deaner at the Niagara Falls Sports Expo. “I know what’s going to be worth my while to beat up my body. There is a price tag that is worthwhile to beat up my body and to be away from my family and my kids for the weekend. So, everywhere I go, it is worthwhile.”

There are limits to what he will do to wrestle. Over the last few years Deaner has found he has had to prioritize his commitments. “You know, if my daughter has a dance recital, then I am going to go to the dance recital,” said Deaner. “Balancing it is not easy, it has never been easy. I have a wife and two young children. I’m still learning how to balance it. It’s a business and as long as I am making money I can justify being away from my family.”

After 15 years of being on the wrestling scene, Deaner is starting to feel the bangs and bruises that his sport puts on the body. He has found a secret way to stay untroubled — and loved.

“I work out five days a week,” said the bearded grappler. “I stay fit. I feel it every morning, but I keep the blood flowing and work out every day, then I roll around on the floor with my kids and stay active with them. That helps keep daddy loose.”

When asked if he would like to coach his children’s soccer or hockey team, Deaner became quiet. For many moments, his silence filled the air with his introspection.

Cody Deaner participates at a “Read With a Wrestler” event at a public library.

“I have a daughter who is three and a half and a son who is one and a half,” replied a serious Deaner. “I don’t know if I will ever have time to be the soccer coach, but I will have time to be there for the games, to be there for whatever they have because I don’t want to miss that.”

“I want people to remember Cody Deaner as a hell of a worker, as somebody the guys wanted to wrestle, but what is more important to me is being remembered as a good father. I put my family first.”