Times Like These

boxing image

Parenthood is really an evolutionary event that takes what seems like an eternity and turns it into fragments of time.  I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the fact that 10+ years have raced before my eyes. Every time I try to grab a hold of a chunk of time and really relish what is going on, it’s time to move on to something else. Our children just don’t seem to stop. We want them to, but they can’t, they aren’t static beings and never will be. You really feel the beat of time when you introduce your child to some of the things that seemingly had a profound effect on your own childhood. Delving into that space with adult eyes can be fun at times, but ultimately unsatisfying and even to a degree downright disappointing.

For instance, with some trepidation I finally introduced my son to Rocky Balboa…which really should be a requirement for any boys elevation into manhood. My hesitation was centered mainly on some of the themes the movie represents that are somewhat absent in today’s rearing of youth. Specifically the blood and guts that predicate the thundering glory when Rocko brings down the giant before him. Why wait till a kid is 10? The rules were changed, and blindly we follow the “norm” in society blissfully trusting that our actions will be rewarded with a normal adult offspring. Honestly, I thought it was the violence we don’t want them to imitate, at least that’s what my wife has been telling me. Using the filter of my “adult eyes” I’m starting to think the acting was far more offensive than the violence of the fight scenes. Parents tend to focus on that evil violence when really, something far more important is going on in the movie. Something a reasonably smart kid will imitate much faster than the mock ups we call boxing montages. It’s the reason the movies had such an effect on a generation.

My kid may be a straight A student, but I promise you he isn’t threatening to become a Mensa member anytime soon. I get a little frightened sometimes when the obvious is bearing down like a runaway train and he has that stupid is what stupid does look of confusion tattooed on his beautiful forehead. So we are watching Rocky III, Rocky I would have been the logical starting point in the double trilogy, but the themes in Rocky I are far more adult and would require some explanation that I’m not aptly prepared to dish out. Not to mention, he’d wonder about the funny looking thing on the wall with the rotary dial that you talk into. Just so we are clear, I consulted my peer group consisting of no less than 4 Rocky experts that agreed, III was the way to start. While watching the movie, I found myself going back to 1982 all over again. Had some mixed emotions with that one, but specifically I recalled discussing the movie with teammates on my baseball team. We talked about the fight scenes, how Mickey dies, and how Rocky brings down Clubber. All the highbrow stuff that 10 year olds talk about. So my son says to me somewhere in the middle of the movie when Rocky is struggling training with Apollo,  “Dad, he’s got no heart because of his trainer dying. He’s got to have heart if he’s going win”. I sat for a minute, stunned. How is this possible? Was I that much of an idiot as a kid? I decided to take the opportunity to teach him a thing or two and I felt our bond strengthen just a little bit more. I told him, “you’re right man, anything worth doing has to be done with all your heart. If it’s not your best, what’s the point?” I felt a sense of the full circle experience that slaps you in the face from time to time. Sometimes being aware and out of the bliss hurts a little bit because you know he’ll leave you soon enough.

So the Rocky experience turned out to be a fun ride down memory lane and it was fun inducting my son into the club so to speak. I’ve tried other movies with lesser success. Goonies was a no go….bought it for Christmas a year ago, the language was unbelievable! We made it through about 15 minutes before we shut it off. I remember seeing it in the theater with my younger brothers in tow, how times have changed.  My biggest fear is rasing a kid who can’t fend for himself or worse yet, is afraid to fight to succeed. Having the heart, the determination, and the will to overcome the mountain in front of him. What still kills me is he understood the “Eye of the Tiger” with his first viewing….I just remember jamming out to the song.

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One Response to “Times Like These”
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