Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's the eye of the tiger, the cream of the fight...

Kash Kheirkhah

Just a few months ago, Andre Agassi's exit from the world of tennis took me back to my younger years in Iran, when even watching one of his grandslam finals was a dream for me. Now you might find this stupid, or funny or whatever you might wanna call it but in a couple of hours, another sports hero of my childhood years, one who also brings back a lot of bittersweet memories, will make his graceful exit: Rocky Balboa.

Of course, I know the difference between Hollywood and real life now but back in the early eighties, Rocky was the sovereign in the world of movies for us school kids in Iran. At the time, there was no cinema in Iran showing Hollywood blockbusters (there still isn't), no satellite TV, Internet, DVD, VCD or even VHS cassettes. All we could find were Betamax video players and even those where not found easily in most households. They were expensive but more importantly, they were banned by the Islamic regime and those who did carry them, ran the risk of being arrested and even lashed.

That's why most people secretly rented Betamax video players from the black market on weekends and what was the very first foreign movie they wanted to rent along? a Rocky movie!

And now Rocky is back, in a world that bears almost no resemblance to the one in which I grew up. I know in 2 weeks, Iranian school kids will watch the "Rocky Balboa" on their VCD or DVD players, enjoying the blessings of the new YouTube world but for me, Rocky is a bittersweet reminder of both the dark days we lived through as kids, under the Islamic Regime in Iran in the eighties, and the only glimmer of the outside world that brightened those dark days a tad-- on an exciting Thursday night or a gloomy Friday afternoon.

Rocky is back and I'll be in theater this time, savoring his passion for glory and will to survive the eye of the tiger for the very last time...