There's an old Chinese saying that loosely translates to "If
you have never step onto the Great Wall of China, you are
never consider a real man".
But alternatively as this book shows, there is another option
you might wish to consider: The Rocky Steps. Make famous by
Rocky Balboa in the original 1976 movie "Rocky",
the steps in front of the Philadelphia art museum attracts
numerous people around the globe to run in "Rocky"
style up the steps annually.
Michael Vitez and his photographer Tom Gralish spent a year
through winter, spring, summer and fall capturing the various
accounts of people who ascend the Rocky Steps. As amazing
as it sounds, these are indeed true accounts. There's the
staff sergeant from Texas who proposed to his girlfriend on
Valentine's eve; a 18 year old college freshmen who had a
heart transplant operation; Sarah the breast cancer survivor;
the Japanese family; Rev Nellie and many more.
to sound mushy but some of the individual's accounts can shed
tears in your eyes. Inspiring, loving, motivating...whatever
you call it, the "Rocky Steps" are not merely steps,
as Sylvester Stallone says in his foreword, Rocky represented
something that when you train for Rocky, you basically train
for yourself. A story of an underdog make good. A story which
many of us shared deep in our heart.
“Most of the people who run the Rocky Steps understand
that the movie, in its own kitschy, corny, classic way represents
what is great about America. An Everyman can make his dream
come true; an underdog can triumph through hard work; and
few things are possible or worthwhile in life without love
or friendship. People want to believe the American Dream is
still true, still possible, for themselves and for everyone.
Actually, this desire transcends nationality. It is not just
an American dream but a universal one."
beautiful photographs contributed by Tom Gralish and absorbing
accounts of those "Rocky runners"
written by Michael Vitez, "Rocky Stories"
is a great companion book to the "Rocky" movie series.
It tells you straight in the eye that there's more inspiring
real-life tales beyond the film reels. Rocky Balboa's tale
is indeed timeless.
by Linus Tee