January 28, 2023

The Rocky Rule for Life

Rocky Rule for Life

I turned up the volume of my Rocky ringtone in honor of Sylvester Stallone being inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday. My life creed, and not the Apollo kind, is that the world is divided into one kind of person- boxers/1. Everyone who has spent a little time in the ring called planet Earth has a little, or a lot, of Rocky in them. It’s the Rocky Rule of Life.  Here’s a quote from Stallone at his induction ceremony:

“‘I have never pretended to be a boxer. I don’t possess those skills,’ Stallone continued. ‘But what I do think I have is an understanding of what goes on outside the ring. Outside the ring is sometimes maybe an even bigger struggle than what goes on inside the ring. If I was able to capture that, I believe (moviegoers) could identify more with (Rocky).

‘But more than that, I realize that life is a constant battle. This may seem a little sentimental, but I truly believe it’s not how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That belief is what makes a difference in your life.’

Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Kostya Tszyu, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, and Joe Cortez were also inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. Chavez lived as a youth in an abandoned railroad car. Chavez took harder hits outside the ring than he ever did as a boxer but he kept moving forward, enduring the price to make that difference.

A friend of mine back in college at Michigan State got in the Rocky spirit and decided to fight in the Golden Gloves. According to Hollywood, this was going to be his Rocky moment. While other students went to parties, he trained in the boxing gym. He was knocked out in the first round of his first fight. Then he got up and went on to much bigger things outside the ring. It’s a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It’s the Rocky Rule of life- get up and keep moving forward.

What boxing teaches more than any other sport is respect for the God of Opposition. Somewhere out there is a fist, a bullet, a pink slip, something bad that you must contend with, and overcome. You won’t see it coming, but it’s still there. A friend’s father boxed in Golden Gloves in Kentucky, and his opponent was a guy named Cassius Clay who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. “Never saw his hands” is how his fight was described. The first time you go in the ring and hear and feel the “whoosh” go past your ear, you’ll put your gloves up a little higher against the God of Opposition.

Drawing a Golden Gloves opponent like Ali is another life lesson from the sport of boxing, which is that no matter how bad a fight you may be in, there’s always someone else in a tougher battle.

The Detroit News has an article about the Downtown Boxing Gym teaching kids about how to go pro on life.

Downtown Boxing Club. Credit: Detroit News


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