I watched Rocky Balboa not long ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had heard good things about it. Usually the 6th installment in a franchise leaves little to be told, but some stories keep coming back with more. I didn’t expect much, but this Rocky movie surprised me. It is a story of an old boxer staring in the mirror and examining all that had gone past. He determines that there was still something inside of him left inside that he needed to get out. I didn’t expect much going in, but felt very satisfied coming out. He didn’t win the fight at the end of the movie, but he won the fight within himself.

Not long after I watched the movie Creed. I had heard good things about it, but like my comments above remained a bit skeptical. This one was amazing. It is the story of a young boxer who has something to prove. He knows he needs a coach. He turns to his deceased father’s friend and former foe, Rocky Balboa. Through the movie we see the growth of Adonis Creed, but also the transition of Rocky Balboa to Creed’s mentor.

I have been watching Rocky movies since I was a young kid. What is not to love? The underdog fighter goes in and does the impossible. I have wanted that to be my story in a lot of ways. A man no one has heard of fights his way up to come from obscurity into the light. Rocky was a nobody at the beginning of the first movie, but he had heart. He knew what he wanted to do, even if it didn’t look like he would be able to do it. He stuck with it. He had help along the way. He had a mentor, Mickey, that saw something in him and pushed him. It is similar story with Adonis Creed. He has a famous name, but wants to be known for himself. He too needs help along the way.

When I was a young man I identified with the fighters in these stories. They had a goal in front of them. They had a foe they needed to defeat. This is how I have looked at goals. What’s next? What else can I achieve? Unlike these fighters, I haven’t always been clear if I am fighting in the right fight. Am I chasing the right goals? Am I headed the right way. A bit of introspection tells me that I have done ok. Maybe some things could have gone better, but at 41 I like who I am and the direction I am headed. I have goals and they are becoming much more focused.

Now that I am nearing middle age, as my son so kindly informed me not long ago, I realize that I am not just the fighter in the story. I have to be more. I identified with Rocky/Adonis the fighter, but now I can feel the transition to Mickey/Rocky the mentor. I have experiences that I need to share. I have wisdom that has been beat into my head over several years. I have walked some of the path of life and know them well. I need to share that knowledge with those who are newer at the journey. Where I can I need to help other avoid the pain of some of the lessons I learned. Where that is not possible, I need to help them navigate the pain and interpret it correctly.

Fighter and mentor. I am thankful for this position. I want to make the most of it. I want to keep learning and growing. I want to keep fighting new fights, where they make sense. I also want to pass the knowledge along and help others win.

Like Rocky did in Rocky Balboa, I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize there is stuff inside that I never got out. I would far rather actively pursue it…as a fighter and as a mentor.

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