David Goggins was born in 1975 in Buffalo, New York. His childhood was far from idyllic, and from the age of six, his father’s tyrannical rule governed his life. His father, Trunnis, was a self-made entrepreneur who earned a good living running Skateland, a disco skating rink. David, his older brother, and his young mother would spend hours at the rink every day, from six o’clock in the evening until late at night, and had to run the entire business. It was a popular place, and was always full of people, especially families.
In addition to cleaning the rink before opening, and cleaning the toilets after closing time, David was in charge of keeping the skates tidy and clean for customers to rent, while his mother and brother were kept busy with other tasks. After their shift was over, he and his brother almost always had to spend the night on the sofa in a room above the rink, from where they could hear the noise of the disco from below. The next morning, they would have to be up early for school.
They lived in a decent neighbourhood, in a comfortable house, and they always had nice cars. From the outside, they looked like the perfect family, but this was not, in fact, the case. David’s father was a violent man, and he would abuse the entire family, beating his wife and children for the slightest thing. Young David went to school exhausted every day, and his teacher’s voice was the lullaby that sent him off to sleep. He learnt nothing, because he was always too tired, and too scared. Even when he went out to play in the school playground with his classmates, he was anxious, and had to be careful not to show the bruises that covered his body.
When David was eight years old, his mother managed to make an escape plan with the help of a kind-hearted neighbour and a credit card she had managed to get in Trunnis’ name, even though he had always refused to marry her or share his earnings with her. In an old Volvo, they set out for Brazil, a small town in Indiana, where David’s maternal grandparents lived.