Monday, December 25, 2006

The Shadow boxer - Christine Albrecht

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"Rocky Balboa" was a knockout with the critics, and got a head start on its competition by opening on Wednesday, when it was the No. 1 choice. The film's total stands at $22.1 million, about $2 million shy of its modest production cost.

Stallone also wrote and directed the film, the first in the series since 1990's underwhelming "Rocky V."Distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer started the promotional campaign ...

Yahoo news

Normally, I wouldn’t cut and paste a Yahoo news article into my topics; however, I remember waaaay back in ‘76 visiting my extended family in Toronto, Ontario, when the first ‘Rocky’ movie debuted.

I was taken to the movie by my maternal grandparents (interesting in that they had been separated since my Grandmother turned 65, yet remained the best of friends). Of course, being a young 'un, I was mortified by going to the movies with old people, yet I figured I could withstand this torture as we were in a city far away from my friends.

My Grandmother warned me to disregard any 'potential reactions' my grandfather may exhibit during the movie. (Say what? I was thinking in my wee little brain.)

Well, during a time when family history was of no importance to a young girl, I briefly recalled beng told that my grandfather was a talented boxer when he was younger. He was a ‘lightweight’ (considering his height 6’1”, but obviously thin) and he quit boxing to provide for his new wife and soon-to-be-born daughter (my mother). My grandfather was a very attractive man as well (similar to Errol Flynn) so I am sure that vanity also played a part in his decision to no longer professionally box.

Anyway, as we watched the movie, I was surprised at how much I was enjoying the film, and as the movie advanced to the infamous finale fight scene, I caught (out of the corner of my eye) this aged man with: teeth clenched, jaw jutting forward, yet tipped downward, white knuckled fists, shoulders hunched and moving rhythmically back and forth, up and down - almost in a bob and weave fashion, and the occasional hushed grunt. My grandfather’s mirroring of the fight scene was as memorable as the movie itself. He was, essentially, shadowboxing his past.

After the movie, we exited the theatre and my grandmother turned to my grandfather and said, ‘I bet that brought back memories’. My grandfather’s forehead bore a fine mist of sweat upon it as he replied, ‘It sure did’.

I learned at a later date that my grandfather was a splendid boxer, had won one of those snazzy belts that a boxer would win (memory is hazy now), had kept his original boxing gloves and shoes, and most importantly, had a reputation as a solid, bankable fighter.

I kick myself now for not enquiring further, but as I said, I was a youngster and the world revolved around me. Despite my then lack of interest, every time a ‘Rocky’ movie, ‘Rocky’ sequel, or ‘Rocky’ whatever is announced, I am transported back to a time when I finally saw my grandfather - not as an aged relative, but as a vibrant individual whose past contained an eclectic assortment of hobbies and interests, one of which included boxing.

Merry Christmas, Shadow Boxer; I’m sorry you passed on before we could truly get to know each other.

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