Thursday, August 20, 2009

'Rocky Balboa' gets another viewing, and another

VALOIS, New York, USA - It's hard to say exactly why the saga of Rocky Balboa seems soooo compelling to me. I suppose it's because I saw the original film one summer night in 1977, just before I started my job as news editor at The Union newspaper in Grass Valley - a job I took full well knowing it was so far over my head, I couldn't even see the surface.

But, like Rocky, I had trained hard (at another newspaper) and was as ready as I ever would be.

We both survived our respective tests, though not without different sorts of cuts and bruises.

Fast-forwarding to 2009, I decided to watch the 2006 film, Rocky Balboa, for a second time, a film that is really not about boxing, but about relationships and how an aging man decides that he needs to not retire into himself and the past, but move forward. It's a great capstone movie to the entire Rocky series of films and in some ways, I think the best of all the Rocky films.

Not all the critics agree, but let them wallow in their myopia.

Rocky & Son
Rocky with his son

Rocky and Little Marie
Rocky and Little Marie

In Rocky's words in the film, he still has 'some stuff in the basement,' bothering him, haunting him, as he is no-longer a prize fighter, but now a widowed restaurant owner. He's years out of the ring and his son is an adult, though with issues of his own, living in what he calls 'a big shadow,' cast by his larger-than-life father.

Earlier this summer, somewhere between cutting a tree down with a chainsaw, digging a posthole and fixing the dock down at the lake, I realized that I still have some 'stuff in the basement' - not stuff that compels me to climb into a boxing ring, but stuff that seems compel me to get back at writing.

Isn't this writing?

Sure. And writing about adventures on several of my other blogs, or ranting here about a variety of topics, seems to deal with that stuff in the basement, but only to a degree.

It's not the same as writing about a terrorism trial (as I did for Reuters), the corruption and nonsense in education (as I did for Education Beat) or even the byzantine world of health care regulation (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.).

Stuff in the basement. What to do about it?

Maybe the answer is somewhere in a flickering screening of Rocky Balboa. Maybe I'll view it one more time, before I send it back to Netflix.

Rocky finale
No more stuff in the basement

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