SAANICH -- Dave smiles as he looks at pictures from his past. The 68-year-old shows us a black and white photo of his childhood friends who used to play ‘army’ by sticking pins in the corks of their cork-guns.

“You’d sneak-up behind the guy,” Dave starts laughing. “and ‘pop’ right in his butt!”

Dave says he never missed the mark and was always athletic. Although he doesn’t remember particular touchdowns, or specific goals, he’ll never forget why he first fell in love with wrestling in high-school.

“Because I could bash big people!," he says.

Dave is about four-and-a-half feet tall. He was also disciplined and talented enough to become a contender in wrestling. “My first tournament I was second in the province of Quebec.” 

The high school provincials eventually led to the national championships. “I was really nervous,” he says, pointing to a picture of competitors towering beside him. “These guys were giants.”

But Dave had the advantage. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” he says. 

Dave ended up beating countless contestants to place third in the country.

“It was awesome. I didn’t know this feeling was in me, victory!” Dave looks at picture of the bronze medal around his neck and smiles, “to not have anybody say ‘no you can’t do that!'"

But Dave's dreams of wrestling professionally were permanently quashed after a debilitating injury. “I didn’t like it all,” he sighs. “ So I have to take a….”

Dave takes a big breath and later starts singing the song that changed his perspective on the profound disappointment of his injury: Don’t Worry Be Happy

"When I heard it, I said that’s what I want to be – happy," he says.

So Dave started striving for happiness like he once did for sports goals. His search included asking a random senior what their biggest regret was. The man answered that he wished he could go back in life and not stop chasing money and start spending more time with family. The comment inspired Dave to wonder if instead of taking people down on the wrestling mat, he could start lifting people up with their moods.

“I love making people laugh and smile,” Dave says. Although he works as an Assistant Manager at a Saanich vacuum store, Dave says his primary goal is realizing the joy of make people happy. “If I make people happy, it makes me happy!” 

Watch the Sawatsky Sign-Off from Monday to Friday at 6:55 p.m. on CTV News Vancouver Island.