Stay in school and use your brain. Be a doctor, be a lawyer, carry a leather briefcase. Forget about sports as a profession. Sports make ya grunt and smell. See, be a thinker, not a stinker.”
– Apollo Creed, “Rocky”, 1976
One of the best things about a movie is when it says something real about life. I mean, it’s great when they make you laugh and feel, but something special happens when you can see that deeper meaning.
Growing up I loved the “Rocky” movies, and I still do. Except, you know, that 5th one? Yeah, wow.
But it’s interesting how the character developed. When I heard they were going to release “Rocky Balboa” in 2006 I really hoped they’d do it right. And boy, did they ever.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was a satisfying end to the saga. Or, so I thought.
While “Rocky Balboa” ended on a high note, in “Creed” his story arc is as it should be. He’s gone from the over-the-hill underdog, to a has-been and now to the mentor.
If you haven’t seen the movie then I suggest you skip the next section since it might spoil your experience.
When I’d finished watching the movie I couldn’t help but feel that it was not only a fitting tribute to the amazing story and lessons that’ve been given to us throughout the series, but also a new beginning.
You see, the story of Adonis Creed is in some ways a repetition of the original story of Rocky. While I won’t tell you exactly what happens, it ends in a very similar fashion as the first movie.
It’s also the story of heritage and belief. How the past has helped shape us but also how important our belief in being able to change course is.
We’re not bound to repeat the mistakes of our past. While it can open certain doors and close others, where we come from doesn’t dictate where we go in life. It just alters the road we have to take.
I’m not saying that belief and hard work is all that matters. There’s a lot of luck and serendipity involved in the process.
However, those things are out of our control. All we can do is to prepare ourselves as best we can with the tools we have at our disposal so that if and when the opportunity appears, we’re ready to seize it.
As for forgetting about sports as a profession, I don’t agree.
We need athletes to achieve great things.
They give us stories. They give us hope. They show us what it means to have spirit and strive for excellence.
The difference between these pursuits and the “safe” ones is that with sports there’s usually a very narrow window of opportunity.
You usually only have a decade or two to make an impact. After that you’re history. People don’t always have a plan for what to do after retirement and this can cause problems.
Not only for them but for us as well. We need to make sure that we don’t take their achievements for granted. The skills and lessons they’ve learned along the way can be put to good use elsewhere.
I know that without the inspiration of movies and athletes I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I’ve learned. Both have given me so much.
I’d love to hear what figures in sports and movies do you look up to? What lessons have you learned from them?
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!