Fitness, Taking the Hits, and Moving Forward

Rocky Balboa’s Inspirational Speech to His Son

This clip resonates with me. As Keith Whitley sang “I’m No Stranger to the Rain.” Like all of us, I’ve had my ups and downs. I am not trying to say that my troubles are any worse than anybody else’s troubles. I know that that there is always somebody else out there that is worse off than I am. But we all have our trials and tribulations. We all have times in our lives where our faith is tested. That can be our faith in ourselves, our faith in others and / or our faith in our deity. The truth is that these trials have the potential to break us.

The last few months of 2013 have been a challenge for me. The details are unimportant to anyone but me. Suffice it to say, I have felt like Rocky Balboa facing Ivan Drago in a Soviet boxing ring surrounded by hostile fans and few friends (Yes, Adrian, I know that I am referencing a different Rocky movie). I have clinched when I could clinch and took a standing 8-count when the blows dropped me painfully to the canvas. I have smiled when I did not feel like smiling. I haven’t heard a bell yet and my “opponent” isn’t out for the count, but I am starting to feel like I am getting my second wind. Who knows? I might get KOed after all, but I might just hold on for the judges’ decision or even my own knockout victory.

The point I wanted to make is that, as Rocky so passionately puts it, life has the potential to pound us into submission if we let it. Hopefully, we have the tools to fight the good fight, whether those tools be in the form of faith in God, the support of family and friends, self-confidence from past trials faced and conquered or just sheer meanness and an indomitable determination to not be beaten as long as we are still breathing. Physical fitness can play a role in our resilience. As Vince Lombardi stated, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” The decision not to quit in the gym or on the training field can carry over to the competitive arena or everyday life. Certainly pushing through fatiguing work on a regular basis can give us the endurance and the will to continue our exertions on the athletic field. I think the same holds true in other areas of life. In the Rocky movies we see Rocky push through the pain of training to persevere in the ring. Even if we are not training for a combat sport, training can toughen us for life. Besides, training can be an outlet for our emotions when they are raw. There is nothing like hitting a truck tire with a sledgehammer as though it owes you money to burn off some steam.

If all else fails find a motivating song or video clip to play when you need encouragement. It works for me. Remember that sometimes simply holding on is enough to win the day.

(Note: The comments / statements in this post are not meant to be a substitute for medical / mental health care. The services of a medical / mental health professional should be sought out and utilized if necessary.)

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