Potential Everlasts

-I been comin’ here for six years, and for six years ya been stickin’ it to me, an’ I wanna know how come!
Ya don’t wanna know!
-I wanna know how come!
Ya wanna know?
-I WANNA KNOW HOW!
OK, I’m gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!
-It’s a living.
IT’S A WASTE OF LIFE!

My English teacher was cool enough to show us Rocky during class last week, the number one inspirational film claimed by many. I have seen my dad  watch it many times, but I have never cared to sit down and watch it from start to finish. Of course the only scene I could recall was  Rocky  running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts arms pumping in the air while he was jumping up. I’m pretty sure that’s the famous scene that most can recall whether they’ve seen the movie or not. I thought this movie was just about a boxer training to fight another boxer in a big championship game, but this movie had so many underlying messages for the audience and a huge perspective change.

First of all I was shocked when Rocky didn’t win, they both practically knocked each other out and it seemed like Rocky delivered most of the blows. It’s how a movie is supposed to end, the main character always walks out with the win and the pretty girl, but Sylvester Stallone purposely changed the typical fairy tale ending. The message was clear: Success  is not always measured in wins and losses but how much you were able to accomplish. In the beginning of the movie it seems like Rocky is just trying to get by in life, working as a hassler to scare people into paying the dues. Yeah he boxes, but his drive isn’t really scene in the beginning scenes. As the story progresses and he is given the chance to fight Apollo Creed we see Rocky’s determination to be better. The most memorable scene for me (The conversation above) was Rocky walking into the boxing gym  asking his trainer why his locker was given to a new student. The trainer responds that he has enough potential to be great, but he seizes to capture the opportunity. Rocky never expected to win, he didn’t want to.  He reached his number one goal of going the distance, being the best he could possibly be.

As a runner all everyone watches is for first place to finish across the line. Unless it’s a close finish no one sees anyone else as high as the first spot. We all fail to see how hard that 4th, 5th place must have worked to get to where they are. Of course First place is amazing and should be congratulated, but what about 2nd, 3rd, 4th or any other spot. Speed is something some people are just born with. It’s not taught but an automatic ability that has been registered within since birth, others have to work for it. I have seen a top runner slack off  during their training and another runner work harder than i’ve ever seen, and in the end the runner that worked hard always fell short to the girl who would slack off. I remember asking her if it ever bothered her knowing that she hasn’t won a race even though she was one of the hardest working people on the team. She gave me an answer that has stuck, “I train like i’ve never lost a race, when I train I give it my all and perform to my true potential, and when I race I leave it all on the line. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the coming in second that drives me to be better than the day before.”

I finally understood one of life’s lessions. You can’t always come in first and win a shiny medal, but you can choose to be a winner within,  strive to be better than the day before.

–Laura

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