I’m old now. That’s good and bad. The bad thing is I’m going to die sooner. The good thing is that I understand real accomplishment, disappointment, living up to expectations, trying to earn the respect of your peers, and the importance of family.
The older I get, the more I appreciate great sports movie moments that capture real emotion that everyone can understand, whether they’re a sports fan or not. To follow are five bonafide sports movie moments that make me sob like a little boy. These clips on their own may not tell the whole story, but in the context of watching the entire movie, they earn their power.
#5 Rocky Balboa goes all 15 rounds against Apollo Creed
If you asked most people who have seen Rocky (1976) what it’s about (and most of them probably haven’t seen it recently), they will probably tell you it’s a classic underdog story where a nobody comes to prove himself and wins the championship. But Balboa actually doesn’t win the fight in the first movie in the franchise, he loses a split decision to Creed. But winning that fight isn’t what he wanted to prove. He just wanted to prove he could stand up there with Creed; to go 15 rounds against the champ. So while Creed celebrates in his corner because he gets to keep his belt, Rocky, blinded by swelling in his eyes and attempting to swat away reporters who wouldn’t give him the time of day 15 rounds ago, desperately tries to find his newfound love, the painfully shy Adrian, to hold her and profess his love to her. Rocky isn’t a champion. But he’s not a palooka. He’s not a tomato. He’s not “a leg breaker for some cheap second-rate loan shark” anymore. He can stand up as a man. He did what he set out to do.
Let’s just pretend the sequels didn’t happen so we can fully appreciate this exhausted exchange between the competitors once the final bell sounds:
Apollo: “Ain’t gonna be no rematch.”
Rocky: “Don’t want one.”
I guess we can also overlook the fact that any one of these punches would lay out either of these guys. But hey, it’s a movie.