‘No pain! No pain! No pain!’
These were the words that Rocky's (Sylvester Stallone) coach drilled into him as he prepared to defeat a Russian who towered over him, in his (the latter's home turf) in the 4th part of the Rocky movies.
7am yesterday morning I flipped through the channels and landed on Rocky 4 showing…and for the first time since the last 100 times I had seen all the movie parts, I learnt two very good lessons.
Ivan Drago, Russian and a giant of a man, had come to America to ‘look’ for a fight. Apollo, Rocky’s antagonist-turned friend, elected to fight him even though he had passed his prime, boxing-wise. Long story cut horribly short, Apollo died during the course of the fight.
Rocky, heartbroken, swore to a re-match. Venue of the fight was in Russia, so off he went.
But the Russians were hostile and unfriendly to Rocky and his team, they were given a shack for accommodation in the middle of nowhere, put people to watch them (as if they could escape!) and worse, it was winter!
But Rocky needed to be able to train to fight so, while the Russian had sophisticated and state-of-the-art equipment to train with, and within the confines of a (most likely) warm sports gym, Rocky was left to improvise in the raging cold. He had his long run in the snow, he lifted rocks packed in a bag, used as weight a wheel-barrow in which sat his wife and brother in-law; he did whatever he could to make sure he trained. He improvised; he manufactured all he needed using the things available to him. He didn’t lament his woes and conditions of accommodation. He didn’t call the US Embassy to protest the gross breach of n’importe quoi on the part of the Russians. No, he did not.
His objective was to defeat his opponent, whose picture he placed on his bathroom mirror….'you aren’t getting away from me’, I can imagine him thinking. And while he was being pounded almost to death…all he could hear was ’no pain’.
What are our challenges? They are big, great and many. How hostile is our environment? Very; bombarded daily, left right and centre with all sorts. What resources are available to us? A lot. Are our eyes on the challenges or on the prize?? Depends on each person. Are we thinking about the pain? Obviously yes, reason why we are still in the same spot!
What do we want? Do we want it badly enough to do whatever it takes to get it, within the confines of what is right? After all, what is easy to come by in this life? No gain without hard work, abi? I am trying to remember what they say about overcoming the mountain: jump over it, go around it, push through it….@DoWhatEverItTakes. Selah.
What are you hearing? What is your 'coach' telling you? Can you hear the chant of ‘no pain’ or its equivalent, cheering you toward the finishing line, urging you on, no matter what batters you?
Rocky won the fight of course but long before he even got there, the Russians who were chanting ‘Ivan Drago’ changed to ‘Rocky, Rocky, Rocky’.
Biko, what is your pain?
Be free oh.