It’s time.


Remember Rocky? Not the 1.6 billion dollar franchise or the later career of Sly Stallone who I heard is coming out with a new movie this fall where he fights a powerful white supremacist leader who is secretly planning to take over the world with Russia’s help. No, the original Rocky, the down but not out boxer who is given one last shot and makes it count.


You are Rocky, I am Rocky, we all are Rocky.


Determination and grit is exactly what the country needs right now. That and a lot of hard work to get us moving and out of our 120 plus day coronacoma. Rocky trained by punching meat and running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art. He also didn’t win which is important to remember in this analogy. It’s always about the journey.


We are all trying to return to normal right? But what if normal is no longer?  What if normal was flawed by poor leadership and direction and racist traditions and a number of systems that were not evolving? What if we Rockyized this moment by looking at our flaws and changing?


First, some health basics. Be realistic about your vessel, the virus has killed compromised systems more than healthy systems, learn from this. If you are obese then your system is working harder than people who are not carrying around extra weight. You don’t need to do one-handed pushups like Rocky but you should be able to do a pull up, lift your own weight and run.


If you have diabetes or asthma or depression or ADD or any other compromising diagnosis, make a strategy to live with it as best you can. Life is short, maintaining personal homeostasis is fundamental.


It’s all about oxygenating your red blood cells that happens easily in functioning lungs and not so easily in compromised ones. Want to improve your overall health then improve your lung capacity, breathe fresh oxygen (and work to keep the oxygen fresh), run up steps, punch meat. Start slow and gradually increase your level of exercise and always listen to “Gonna Fly Now” on your air pods as your background music. Rocky trains in black converse high tops and a dirty grey sweat suit, no new Air Jordans, no Lululemon, learn from this too. It’s not about how you look but about getting up and moving (Remember my athletic interpretation of Newton’s First Law: A body in motion stays in motion).


Next, set goals and make plans. Know that goals are fluid because life is fluid, especially now, but as I tell all my students and players: Failure is growth. Unfortunately, when you grow up in Sonoma with everything you need, you can grow a little soft.  Did I curl up in a ball and promise to stop being outspoken and opinionated when I didn’t make it to round two of the SVHS vice principal interviews this summer? No, I was bummed, spent a few hours feeling sorry for myself, emailed the head of HR to try to understand the reasons, then took Sam (the dog) on a long walk around the SDC reservoir, cleared my head and moved on. Grit is it.


This is a time for goals, America is desperate for change and direction and it becomes clearer and clearer that kids are going to lead the way. The traditional American capitalist playing field does not run on a “justice for all” platform, kids know this, they see the problems, they question authority, let’s listen more to the kids. Should the SDC be given to the Pomo Indians as retribution? I don’t know but I like it as a discussion topic.


The thing about goals is they need to be personal and achievable. I will not qualify for Wimbledon no matter how many times I run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art. At 55 a better goal might be to play one senior tennis tournament in the next year. See how easy that was? Next I look for when the North Tahoe Senior Open is scheduled then get my calendar out and set weekly training goals. Then, call Packjack and Tom and schedule two matches a week. Simple.


And it’s OK to start slow and have fun. Have you seen the new pack of Sonoma roller girls around town? Or the SBL popping wheelies straight into your car? Or have you tried to buy a bike recently? Tennis courts and golf courses are busier than ever and there are so many people walking past the house that I sometimes have to move to the backyard so my solitaire game isn’t interrupted. And how about the outdoor dining around Sonoma, Paris is totes jelly.


In a week or so we are back in school and instead of new backpacks and pens students need a quiet, dedicated space for their Zoom classes with a giant calendar to create and follow their new normal. Virtual learning enables you to stay in your jammies all day but I promise if you keep to a regular schedule it will pay off. Plus all that idle living and screen time and solitaire games have given us coronabrain. It’s time to change that.


But we also need to be careful because we are in no way out of this mess. Continue to take precautions, shelter, wash, mask up, all that but you can still run and more importantly, you need to run.


Be Rocky.









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