Cugine Corner - The Johnny Meatballs Blog
Cugine Corner - The Johnny Meatballs Blog
Last week, the REELZ Channel played the “Rocky” movies—my favorite series of motion pictures ever. In that series, I consider the second one as extra special. “Rocky II,” to me, is special for many reasons—particularly the fact that I believe it can stand out on its own as a story all about redemption. And there are many parallels between that movie and my life.
As many of you know, I love “Rocky II” so much that the boxing trunk colors he wore during his rematch with Apollo were my wedding colors—black and gold. (Those will also be my official colors on my new meatball packaging.) Aside from the developments in the love between Rocky and Adrian (getting married, having a child), and the actual training and fighting sequences—all which were exceptionally written and filmed—the backstories are really what I truly enjoyed most…
See, in the original, Rocky Balboa is an unknown, struggling boxer, with no real prospects. As he gets romantically involved with Adrian and gets offered the chance of a lifetime against the heavyweight champ, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But even so, he keeps his expectations and enthusiasm in check, and simply wants to “go the distance,” which of course he does.
In part II, he has now found himself with newfound fame (and a little bit of fortune), after putting up such a commendable performance against the champ and it feels good. Going toe-to-toe with someone in a position of power—making the person in power question his own greatness—while simultaneously showing the world that you too deserve accolades and praise is a great thing. But then, slowly as the money runs out and people start to forget you, you begin to question if you ever were truly supposed to be there in the first place.
To get a “taste” of a different type of life and then to have things start to go back to the way that they were before can be a difficult situation to deal with. You can just say to yourself, “well, I had my fifteen minutes of fame” and subsequently fade back into obscurity and be upset about it, or you can press forward and try as hard as you can to get back to the top. And not just go the distance but do even better.
Rocky began questioning himself, even getting depressed when he had to work in a meat packing plant to make ends meet. Adrian had to go back to her job at the pet shop for extra income too. Rock knew in his heart that he had to return to the ring, to show the world he wasn’t a fluke and do what he was born to do. It was not an easy transition back into training, as Adrian went into the hospital and he trained with a heavy heart. The Rock moved forward despite lots of adversity—even more than he had the first time around—now with so much more on the line, and more to lose. In the end, Rocky went the distance again but this time he won the crown and he would reach new heights of wealth and triumph (as next seen in the sequels.)
“Rocky III” thru the final chapter—part six—“Rocky Balboa” are all spectacular in their own ways and I could certainly sit here and review and break them all down. But part II just resonates with me personally very much. Without “Rocky II,” without redemption, there would be no continuation.
We all need to continue on and press forward no matter how difficult things seem sometimes. We all draw inspiration from different places and whenever I feel discouraged I watch “Rocky II.”
Last year I had my taste of fame by being on a Vh1 reality show. There was a period right after when I was on a ride of radio and TV interviews and attended events where I met some real famous folks. My dreams of publishing a book and recording a song came to fruition as a result. My meatball business grew in leaps and bounds. But I have not reached the pinnacle yet.
The day that the Johnny Meatballs Empire enables me to provide my family with anything they need will truly put the empire at that pinnacle. I’m not stating that accumulating material things are the only defining factor in success, I am just saying that I am yet to reap much rewards for everything I’ve been doing. I’ve been close to big things many times but have only experienced modest returns. They say that if you do something you love in life you will never work a day in your life. I wouldn’t constantly promote and publicize my meatballs if I didn’t love them and want the whole world to try them and see for themselves.
I have had a quite a few adversities in the past few months that I am not even going to get into here. I don’t harp on that kind of stuff. I’m going to keep doing what I do and plugging forward because that’s what I do and I’m confident that it will all pay off.
As I’ve hinted many times, I will be returning with some TV projects in the spring of 2012 and Johnny’s Meatballs will be hitting stores again—new and improved. This is my redemption time and just like Rocky, this time around there is even more on the line. But I know I will come out on top and be even better.