To the Students Who Didn't Win
College is like a boxing match, and you're not guaranteed to recieve the winning results you want, but you are guranteed to come out a better person.
For the first time in my life I finally saw the movie Rocky…
I had seen a few scenes from the movie and recognized parts that other movies had attributed to the three-time Academy Award winning film. Finally, I took advantage of this snow day, and watched how the Italian Stallion became a worldwide phenomenon. However, when I was watching Rocky, an analogy began to string together in my head on how Rocky is a lot like students in college. Once I finished watching Rocky, I immediately decided to type this up.
Rocky Balboa was an un-educated, workin’ class guy from Philadelphia. He talked funny, and sported sweat for cologne, but he had something that set him apart from the rest of the neighborhood...
Rocky gets the opportunity to have a boxing match with the infamous, modern day-Greek mythological hero, Apollo Creed. Rocky trains for this fight like his life depends on it. He is seen running up the 72 stone steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, (today known as the “Rocky Steps”) and bare knuckle punching a carcass as if he was a punching bag of marshmallows. All this training, and all that he endeavors are for this fight. To keep himself focused on the fight, he sets aside the "temptation" for his girlfriend Adrian. Why? Because it’ll distract him from the fight. Meanwhile, scenes switch to Apollo. We don’t see him training; we see him calling publicists and doing business of how to accumulate him the most money once he beats Rocky. Apollo knows he’s great, and he believes Rocky is not a threat to his godlike status in the world of boxing.
At the end of the film, it’s time for the showdown. Apollo has all these men in his corner, warming him up and boosting his ego. Then the scene switches where we see Rocky get on his hands and knees in the bathroom and begin praying.
Spoiler alert, so you might want to skip this paragraph, (but then again you may miss the big point I’m trying to make). Rocky’s eyes are swollen, and if you thought he talked funny before, he is almost incomprehensible now. Our beloved fighter loses to the big-headed Mr. Creed. This was the first movie in film history ever to have an unexpected ending, where the protagonist does not win.
So what made Rocky the Italian Stallion? What set Balboa apart from the rest was as he said,
"… all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.”
Rocky lost the match, but he stayed standing. He didn’t lose by a knockout, (although he did get beaten terribly). He lost only because Apollo landed more hits on him. But, how? How does a humble man, who is shown to incorporate God in his life, dedicate his time, sacrifice the things he likes …all for a loss? You may be reading this and feel this way too: those all nighters you had to study for a test, the billions of notecards you made, the things you gave up so you could focus better, the extra hours you took at work to pay for tutoring classes… to come so close to your goal, only to watch it fall through your fingers like dry sand. The amount of friends I know that couldn’t continue their major because they couldn’t pass a test by a few points. Aggravations swelled up in their minds like a balloon and tears delivered pain to their temples. The discontentment of their academics left them feeling like they were beaten in a boxing match, however the only thing that they failed was seeing how truly strong they had become.
Here’s the thing—you went the distance. You fought through all these obstacles but you remained standing. All those things you went through, made you who you are. It made you tougher, craftier, and better because you went the distance. Rocky may have lost but he accomplished his dream by going the distance. As Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, what I can’t accept is not trying.”
Some people know Apollo Creed, but when someone says the name Rocky, everyone knows who he is.
Just like Rocky, you are still standing too. Maybe life did not turn out as you had expected, but your story is not over. College is like a boxing match, and you're not guaranteed to recieve the winning results you want, but you are guranteed to come out a better person. Any fighter will tell you getting beat humbles you, if not strengthens you. Rocky goes on to make three more movies, and recently in his last film he trains Apollo Creed’s son. So maybe you scored really low on your LSATS and your dream Law School just isn’t going to happen… or maybe Law School just isn’t going to happen period… but you’re going to keep moving forward and you’re going to be as big as Rocky. You are going to go the distance.