“Rocky” was one of the first movies I saw after I moved to Oklahoma City so very, very long ago. It was playing at the Will Rogers Theater back in the days when films lingered on the same screen for three or four months instead of just a couple of weeks.
I’m thinking about “Rocky” at this moment as I’m gearing up for what will be an emotional night for Thunder fans.
We have two very evenly matched teams. One is cast as the bad guy, though they’re not really bad, and one is cast as the good guy (because they’re really good guys). And one will win, and one will lose. If we win, the game series continues. If we lose, well, it’s over.
“Rocky” was an incredible flick, one that sent you out of the theater thinking you too could overcome the greatest of odds if you just wanted it bad enough and put in the work.
But here’s the thing that a lot of people might have forgotten: Rocky lost.
Think about that. In the first “Rocky” movie, the film classic still celebrated after more than three decades, the guy we saw as the winner was in fact the loser. It was a split decision that went for greatly hyped Apollo Creed.
Creed won the match – but Rocky was the real winner. He got the girl, of course. But he also came out of the match with respect. The whole world saw him as a bum before the match, but afterwards? Heck, they knew that he wasn’t going anywhere. He was coming back. And eventually, Rocky wasn’t going to get that belt.
Keep that in mind after tonight’s game. Whether the Thunder wins or loses Game 5 against the Miami Heat, know that Oklahoma City has already won. A world wide audience has been given a chance to get a new glimpse of Oklahoma City of 2012 – and to erase old prejudices that sought to dismiss us as a wasteland best suited to be turned back into a massive buffalo range. When the game ends, with either outcome, stand up and say, defiantly, “forget you – we’ll be back.” And then head out to Will Rogers World Airport and give the boys a huge welcome home rally.