At any rate, it's finally over. And this is what I feel like:
I mean, I won right? But look at my ugly beat-up face. Dang I got beat up.
I love the Rocky movies. They are just the right amount of gritty and violent and cheesy, not to mention sheer montage perfection. My husband does not like them. I think there is something wrong with him. He wouldn't even buy them for me for Christmas one year because he said they were stupid. I think there is a deep dark hole somewhere, maybe in North Dakota, for people who do not like the Rocky movies. I thought about reporting him as a terrorist, but then he wouldn't be around to check the mail. Or shovel snow. So I thought better of it.
But that is neither here nor there (although it is decidedly unnatural and UN-American.) The point is that I learned everything I needed to know this semester from my friend Rocky Balboa. Because he is awesome.
#1. It's Good to Be Able to Take a Punch
Rocky may not know much, but he knows how to throw a punch. He can break the ribs of a giant slab of hanging frozen meat. And have you seen what he can do to some Russian logs?? It's amazing. But Rocky doesn't just know how to dish it out. The man can take it. Jab after punch after uppercut after hook. Whether it's a headbutt from Hulk Hogan or a cross from Mr. T, the man can take it and just keep going. Well, let me tell you, I feel like I got my a*& handed to me this semester. One thing after another after another. I am bruised, I am bloody, I am exhausted. But I am still standing. My legs are shaking underneath me, but I am standing. Because Rocky taught me how to take a punch and get back up.
"It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
#2. You're Never Too Old
The year is 1976. Small time amateur boxer Rocky is challenged to a heavy-weight championship match by pro Apollo Creed. He is a little out of shape (But he is NOT a bum as some might have you believe.) With just a little help from Penguin of the original Batman series and some catchy theme music, he is in tip-top shape in no time. I mean, he made it ALL the way to the top of the stairs and everything. The man is in his prime. And I don't care what the so-called decision was, Rocky had that title.
Fast forward to 2006. Rocky is old. Like older than me old. And he may not have beat Mason "The Line" Dixon, but the man held his own. And you don't see any statues of Dixon around, do you? Rocky was old, but still fierce. Just like me. Because you're never too old.
"If this is something you gotta do, then do it. Fighters fight."
Apparently, even when they are old enough to collect social security. And a little brain damaged besides.
#3. Go One More Round
In both Rocky I & II, the man goes 15 rounds against Apollo Creed. 15 barbarous, rib-breaking rounds! Boxing matches don't even have that many rounds anymore. Admittedly, he only goes 3 rounds against Mr.T in Rocky III but those were some brutal rounds. I mean the guy said he was gonna bust Rocky up and he wasn't playing. I pity the fool who doubts it. Against Ivan Drago, AGAIN he goes 15 rounds. And winds up ending the Cold War and uniting Russia and America in the process. That's impressive. The point is, never give up. Even when you don't feel like you've got another round in you. You do. Keep going. And just like Rocky told Clubber Lang, you tell life:
"You ain't so bad. You ain't so bad. You ain't nothin!"
#4. There's Nothing Quite Like Good Old-Fashioned Hard Work
The Rocky training montages are arguably the best part of the franchise. Who can forget the moment a triumphant Rocky raises his hands above his head when he makes it up the steps of the Philidelphia some-kind-of museum-or-government-building-or-something in sheer victory? It's a great moment. But it doesn't even compare to the montage from Rocky IV featuring the formidable, eternally sneer-faced Dolph Lundgren training in his state-of- the-art Soviet facility and receiving Rasputin-made powerful mystery injections. Because there is Rocky, bearded and living in a cabin out in the middle of Siberia, lifting wagons, splitting wood, and jumping rope in a barn like a mad man. I mean how can a guy on a fancy treadmill even compare to one who can outrun a car?? My heart's on fire just thinking about it.
I am not one for spending hours on homework or on all-night study sessions, but this semester, and Rocky, taught me something. Nothing can beat good old-fashioned hard work.
"You're gonna have to go through hell. But when it's over, I know you'll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it."
#5. The World Ain't All Sunshine & Rainbows
That's a quote from the man himself, so you know you can believe it. The world is indeed not all sunshine and rainbows. I wouldn't even go so far as to say that it is mostly sunshine & rainbows. It's pretty much predominantly clouds and crap. True story. Life will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. This semester damn near did that to me. And I am not at the end of my schooling. Not even close. I have many semesters ahead of me, but guess what?
"Yo Adrian, I did it!"
And I'll do it again, too. Just watch me.