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Sylvester Stallone Owes Me One



A couple years back, I decided to set out on a pilgrimage. A quest that I felt bestowed upon me by my blue-collar ancestors. In other words, I had a day off and I wanted to do something different than waking up late and festering in my stink until I decided to go to Taco Bell.

I’ve lived within driving distance of Philadelphia my entire life but I had never seen Rocky’s statue. One of the great movie monuments, this statue might just be the equivalent to Rio de Janeiro’s Christ The Redeemer statue. Or Not.

As a Sylvester Stallone fan and someone who believes in the Rocky story, it is a must see. I own the soundtrack, an ill-fitting Rocky t-shirt and my wall has a slew of Stallone movie posters. My love of the action genre has been undoubtedly tethered to this iconic movie hero.


My family also loves the Rocky films and we routinely binge watch them every fall. As a less fortunate family growing up, there is so much to appreciate about this franchise. The story of a nothing becoming something because of hard work, heart, and wanting to share that with Adrien. How couldn’t we fall in love with that story? It’s a fairytale we can all believe in, especially the economically disenfranchised.

On my day off I had planned to pick up my dad and bring him with me. His health was on a downward trend and I felt the trip would be a mental and emotional pick-me-up. Not only that, but this was a father-son journey for the ages. It would be a memory worth a million likes on Facebook. Sure, it's just a statute, but also a symbol of hope, strength, and a belief in the power of storytelling.


I was right, it would have been a great experience.

Unfortunately, something came up last minute and it derailed our plans to visit Philadelphia. Preoccupied by his cigarette borrowing townies and their never ending train of local crises, my dad was unable to attend. Rocking out to classic tunes on our drive in to the city of Brotherly-Cheesesteak-Love would have to wait. Looking at a statue of our family’s favorite action hero and being reminded of the emotional magic of cinema was not in the cards.

Deciding I wanted to share the moment with my dad, I too decided to sideline myself from the experience.

That evening, like every man does with their favorite action hero, I Googled Sylvester Stallone. To my horror, I learned that he had hosted a special press conference that day. He was atop the famous Rocky stairs to promote his upcoming movie, Creed. He signed autographs and greeted the surprised fans.


Yup.

Now, years later, bringing my dad’s urn to the Rocky statue doesn’t have the same Philadelphia experience I had originally hoped for.

I did eventually make it to Philadelphia and see the statue. A friend and I drove in, climbed the steps, and perused the art museum on a day off. Sylvester Stallone was not there. While working our way through the Renaissance period I reflected on life while looking at a picture of crucified Jesus. Again, Sylvester Stallone was not there.

After thirty minutes of silence, my mid-western friend whispered, ”Maybe this isn’t the right time, but, have you been watching basketball lately?”


A fitting end to my Philadelphia story. A dream born out of unrealistic-expectations and unchecked imagination. They say don’t meet your heroes. I say, don’t meet statues of your heroes.

Thanks Sylvester Stallone.

Thanks Crucified Jesus.

Go to hell Pat Sajak.

Yes, I’m butt-hurt about this.


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