Wanting to forge your own legacy
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” ― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa.
Everyone has at least seen one rocky movie in their lifetime or they have been living under a rock for years. You know the infamous jog up the steps in Philadelphia or what about the matches he had with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Better yet, what about the scene Apollo Creed gets killed in the ring by the Russian or even the Creed movie. If you haven’t seen any of the Rocky movies, I highly recommend watching at least two. Each movie has a similar theme about hard work, dedication, and battling through pain. If Rocky was a real person instead of a fictional character he would have tons of knowledge to drop.
Hard Work and Dedication
I believe that hard work and dedication always lead to success. Many people put hard work and dedication into the same categories. However, I think that they are very opposite but if put together can lead to a successful life and family. Hard work and dedication helps you get into the physical and mental shape for you to be able to accept your success.
Growing with my family hard work and dedication is what I saw in others. I saw how my grandparents woke up every morning went to work five days a week. My mom was a single parent with two young boys and she constantly worked. Often times, she would work one twelve-hour shift then come home for an hour or so then head out for another twelve-hour shift. She dealt with the situation of my father not being there by working two jobs as a nurse picking up shifts as much as she could. She knew that if she would just stay dedicated and work hard that she and the lives of her two boys would change for the better. My father was in and out of my life when I was young and I believe him not being there made me work harder and stay dedicated and accomplish so much more.
In the movie Creed, Adonis “Donnie” Johnson spent several years of his life in foster care and juvenile halls, until he is being adopted by Mary Anne Creed, Apollo’s widow. He grew up without a father figure well into his adult life only reliving the memories of his father from videos and images of a man he never met. He was given the finest education and lifestyle that anyone would want, but he still felt something was missing. When he tried to fit into corporate America, it just didn’t fit his style. He still had an edge about him and he knew it. He makes a bold decision to give up a life of luxury and a stable job to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a professional boxer. He learned everything that he could about his father but still felt a void. A lot of young men and women have that came void in their lives. Often, people feel that void with other things such as sex, relationships, a job, etc. The void never really goes away it is just covered with other things but over time the cover comes off and the void is exposed.
Adonis tried to reach out to those who he thought could help him but only dealt with disappointment. One scene in the movie Creed takes place in the LA gym owned by his father’s trainer son. He reached out for guidance and direction but was told he didn’t have what it took to be a great boxer. “Pause” Have you ever had someone tell you that you couldn’t do something? Tough pill to swallow, right? It probably affected you in some way either positively or negatively. Well, young Adonis let the emotions of his past get the best of him which affected his decision-making. He challenged anybody in the gym to go one on one with him. Sometimes you get a reality check quick and fast. Comedian Eddie Griffin said it best “You thought you were Billy Badass until you ran into Billy Badass. Billy Badass whopped that ass and that’s when you figured out ‘I’m good at Math” Moral of the story he gets knocked out and he ends up with a black eye and humiliated.
In my life, I made the same mistake of letting my emotions get the best of me. I’ve always been the little guy growing up and most of the time I was the target of bullying. At one point, I got tired of getting my lunch money taken and hiding from my bullies. I began to fight back and I mean fight. It was like a light switch and the light of another side of me started to shine. I started to be the kid who pushed the limits and my temper was crazy. I related to the comic book the incredible hulk because when I would become angry it was destruction everywhere and I didn’t care if anyone got hurt. At the beginning of my junior year of high school, I was one of the top ten wrestlers at 119 lbs in the state of North Carolina. Coach Lofton was one of my coaches, he grew up with my father and would remind me that “Richard you got no heart son. He would mention “You are your father’s son” like my mother and everyone who knew my father would say. One match, I was so angry that I almost broke another wrestler’s neck by slamming him backward onto his neck. My coach was furious and we had some not nice words to say to each other. I was suspended from a few matches and team activities which eventually lead to other conflicts at school. The funny thing is that I was placed in In-School Suspension multiple times. It wasn’t until Coach Smith (my old coach from my freshman year) came back as the teacher who covered ISS. Coach Smith looked at me sitting in ISS, he looked as if he had tears in his eyes. He asked me what was I doing and I told him why I was there. We had a very long talk and let’s just say he saved me from a path of destruction. That day in ISS reminded me of the conversation that Rocky had with Adonis in the jail cell. It was powerful and uplifting because that’s how my coach and I had a real man to man conversation.
I leave you with this:
Just like Adonis, I never gave up. He put in the hard work and dedication to make his own legacy. There are some people in your life that are never going to give up on you. Keep those people around, those who are pushing you for better. Keeping an accountability partner or crew of people who are going to stay with you on the journey of ups and downs.
Coach Lofton and Coach Smith really changed my life, helped me learn how to channel my anger, have patience, and flip the switch at the appropriate time with hard work and dedication. I owe both of them gratitude and thankfulness for all the blood, sweat, and tears because without it I know where I would have ended up. Locked up………