Growing up in the Philly area, I remember gazing up at the Rocky Statue in front of the Spectrum as a young child.
The story my mom told me at the time went like this, “A man tried every day to run up the steps of the art museum, which are really high. He worked so hard and when he finally did it, he was so proud he had a statue made to show people that you can accomplish anything.”
The whole story is a bit different, but I think this was a pretty accurate metaphor for the story of Rocky Balboa and the real life story of Sylvester Stallone.
You see, Sylvester was an out of work actor who wrote a hell of a screenplay. Everyone agreed it was a hell of a screenplay and they offered him some great money for it. But he didn’t want to give it to them. He wanted to star in it. He had barely any money. No one in the industry believed in him. But he fought. He persevered. He kept up those steps until he finally reached his goal.
With a low budget and no projections that Stallone would make money off his brilliant work, he forged ahead and ended up making not only one of the best sports movies of all time, but one of the most inspirational movies of all time.
The film went on to win three academy awards, spawn numerous sequels, was the highest grossing film of the year and launched the career of a poor struggling actor into epic stardom.
It took a while for the Art Museum to accept the gift of the bronze Rocky statue, but today it stands victoriously at the steps, a symbol of Philly spirit to the locals, and a beacon of inspiration to everyone, everywhere who is striving toward an impossible dream.