Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not bad for an old guy.

I got the unusual treat this week to take a weekday off and go with a friend to see a movie. It is rare that I take a weekday and go play. It is even more rare to go with a friend. I love my wife and enjoy going out and doing stuff together. But it was a great experience to just go out with a buddy and enjoy good conversation.

We also enjoyed a good movie. We saw Rocky Balboa. I remember seeing the original Rocky all the way back in the '70's. It was a powerful movie if I remember it all these years later. So this was a nice bookend for me.

As far as the movie is concerned, it has to do with Rocky coming out of retirement to fight one last fight. At almost 60 years old it is a little far fetched. But I gotta say, I wouldn't want to mess with Sly. He is pumped. Watching him work out to get into shape, I got up the next morning sore. And to see him going toe-to-toe with a guy half his age is tough to choke - if you let it.

If you sit back and listen to what is happening in the plot of the movie you understand that it isn't about Rocky's physical ability to stand against this generations pulverizing boxing champ. The movie is about what is on the inside. The story of Rocky has never been about the stength in Rocky's arms or fists. It has been about the heart. It has been about the inner quality.

Rocky treats people with respect. He tries to bring out the best in people. Rocky is about empowering people to live better. He does it for his son and "Little Maria" from the old neighborhood and her teenage son. He is an encourager. And then, when he is faced with his own challenge, his words are there to build himself up.

If you think, "You only went to see the fighting," you have to understand that this movie only has about 10 or 15 minutes of fight. And even then, the movie never loses its focus. It is a movie about heart and the inner quality we possess.

As we watched the credits role Sly put video footage in showing people racing up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art immortalized in almost every Rocky film. My friend said that there were some powerful stories with that as survivors of all kinds recreated their own victory dance at the tops of those steps. Rocky has become a cultural icon. From the steps or "YO Adrian", "Eye of the Tiger" and drinking raw eggs, all of these are examples of how Rocky has invaded the cultural language.

But for the church we have something to see in this also. Faith, hope, love. All of these are pictured in Rocky. Faith in people and in God (Rocky prays before he fights). Hope in circumstances when it would be easier to give up. Love for family and friends. Also a form of love for those whom he fights. In Rocky Balboa, Rocky "supports" one of the guys he knocked out in his career by giving him free dinners. I would recommend watching Rocky Balboa. In fact, I'm going to be getting all of the movies (except maybe Rocky V) and watching them all.
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