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TOYS AND GAMES: Rocky Saga

Count me among the many seduced by Rocky all those years ago.

I’d just begun my sophomore year of college when the movie came out in 1976 and something about underdog Rocky Balboa resonated with me. While I never chugged raw eggs or punched beef at the butcher house, I did experience my own early-morning streets of Philadelphia. Wearing high-top Chucks, I’d run around the Georgia Tech campus for miles before daylight in the hope I could eat lightning and crap thunder. Rocky taught me that women weaken legs and also enlightened me about the dangers of not having a manager — thanks Mickey!

The movie had so much heart.Creed

Sylvester Stallone even looked like a heavyweight in Rocky. Later, when I covered the Alessi Promotions fights in Tampa, I saw the behind-the-scenes stuff I’d seen in Rocky and felt as though I’d already been there. Boxing has long supported underdog stories of guys driven by heart while leading with their faces.

Had a sequel to Rocky never been made I believe the movie would be more critically acclaimed (even though it won a Best Picture Oscar) over time. Recently watching the movie reaffirmed that belief for me.

But…

After Rocky, Rocky Balboa evolved into a comic book hero, transforming from a boxer to a body builder in boxing trunks. Every bigger-than-life fight became Captain Ameriica vs. The Red Skull or Superman against Lex Luthor with a pocketful of Kryptonite. Nevertheless, I loved Rocky. How could I not? He’s been a member of my family for over 40 years. “Take you back, do, do, do, do…”

“Philly042107-014-RockyStatue” by Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons “Philly042107-014-RockyStatue” by Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Which brings me to Creed, the latest in the Rocky saga. After watching this one I concluded that enough sequels can eventually rejuvenate the original. That’s what Creed does. This one’s got heart, too.

Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son steals the show while Rocky is as lovable as ever in his old age. In the background of one scene I even saw a poster featuring Alessi Promotions. How about that? Ultimately, seeing Rocky at his advanced juncture of life and remembering the first time he entered my life touched me. Were we ever that young, Stallion?

Creed is definitely worth the price of admission. But do yourself a favor and first re-visit the original.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography