Friday, February 26, 2010

Rocky Is In All Of US

This was the clip I spoke of earlier, Rocky training in the Russian wilderness for his Christmas Day fight with the mighty Soviet champ Ivan Drago. The men you see chasing him are the KGB, who have to watch the American to make sure no spying is going on. This was the world I grew up in the 1980's. Russia and America in a fierce 'Cold War.' Watch the other clip too.

In it Sylvester Stallone describes two themes that are easy to see in all the Rocky movies. The character of an underdog and the heart of a competitor. Rocky clearly showed both to us, and that's why it is a great movie. We've all been underdogs at one time, be it sport or life.

How we react to such situations and deal with obstacles is a true measure of who we are. Its where the
learning, thus the learning about ourselves really happens. Remember Coach Wooden's quote from the 'Pyramid of Success.' "Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort in becoming the best of which YOU are capable."

Underdogs and heart, always make for a good story/movie. I love being the underdog, as we may be such in a few of our matches this year. There is more satisfaction, win or lose, that is possible as an underdog. Don't forget Rocky lost to Apollo Creed in the first movie, but we know that didn't matter.

Its how Rocky fought knowing that it was nearly impossible for him to win the fight. He had to re-prove something to himself. Which each one of us is always doing at many moments in our life. The final scene, and the end of the the fight, it was obvious to the viewer, even in defeat that Rocky had really won something more.

He had re-affirmed his heart and pride to himself and the viewer. His spirit and soul shown so bright at that moment. It could make you cry if you see it at the right time. I may have. "Where's Adrian," with the fight over and the ring flooding with people, is usually that moment.

I've seen the first Rocky to many times, and if you haven't then you should. Its quite inspirational. Stallone wrote this movie himself after watching Chuck Wepner go 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali, a true feat. The movie studios weren't going to let him, a no-name actor at the time, play Rocky in the movie. He fought like heck to force them to, doing it at essentially minimum wage for a lead actor.

In the second clip you'll see Rocky running in Independence Mall and South Philly with crowds of people following him. These are both classic scenes from the first Rocky. Many a coach has had their teams, professional and amateur, get together to watch Rocky for inspiration before a big contest. This type of story is ever-present in our sports landscape, and this movie is the all time best representation of it ... i.e. Hoosiers, Miracle and The Natural.

We'll all be witness to another chapter of that same story on Sunday late afternoon(3pm), as we watch the underdog Americans take on the Canadians in ice hockey for the Gold Medal. It should be great live theater, as all competitors involved sense and react to the pressures of the moment. Who steps up and what will we see happen over 60 minutes of hockey at the highest level. So enjoy this game and get your homework done before it so you can really enjoy it.