As a kid, my parents made me watch lots of Stallone, Van Damme and Chuck Norris movies. When they were feeling especially patriotic, I would watch Spanish dubs of Rocky IV so they could “show” and prove to me the evils of Communism and the good of Americans. Last week, I decided to sit down and re-watch the first Rocky movie, which did win several Oscars and launched the Sylvester Stallone’s career. It’s held up very well over the years and just like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I found lots of life tips in the film.
1. A good coach calls you out on your slacking. Mickey constantly berated Rocky by calling him a tomato because he never lived up to his potential. While having someone call you names isn’t necessary, accountability is. Do you need a good corner woman? Let’s talk!
2. You’re a hero to somebody. Adrien was shy and withdrawn before she started dating Rocky. He saw her for the kind, smart and beautiful person she was. She saw him as the compassionate lunk-head he was. Everyone else thought they were crazy. Someone around thinks you’re a champ. What would happen if you see yourself through their eyes?
3. It’s not always about winning but about going the distance. When he was approached to fight Apollo Creed, Rocky hesitated before accepting. Then he realized this was his only chance at winning a title. His goal was to get in the ring with Apollo, even if he lost, he said, he just wanted to try. Go and try and don’t worry about the results.
4. If you can make up flashy quotes and bad puns on the spot, the public will love you. Okay, maybe it’s just me. A punny pugilist? Be still my corny heart.
5. Sometimes, you gotta use what you got, even if it ain’t glamorous. Rocky couldn’t afford to train at a fancy gym with high-tech equipment. So he used what he had, which was slabs of frozen meat and the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was free and good enough.
6. Pick a theme song. Keep it blasting. I don’t care if it’s “Eye of the Tiger” or “Gonna Fly Now” or Destiny’s Child “Survivor.” We all need a theme song to keep us fighting. Whatever gets your blood pumping, embrace it and sing it at the top of your lungs.
Ah Rocky, you’re no tomato, you’re all heart. I’m probably going to “skip” ahead and go straight to Rocky Balboa, the last in the series. What’s your favorite inspirational-sports-movie?
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