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I Pity the Fool Who Doesn't Follow Their Dreams by Justin Manning


I Pity the Fool Who Doesn't Follow Their Dreams by Justin Manning


I Pity the Fool Who Doesn't Follow Their Dreams by Justin Manning

Rocky movies have inspired generations of new and old fans to chase their dreams and to persevere through hardwork and discipline. But what good is a story without a good villain? One of those villains was 'CLUBBER Lang'. You may remember CLUBBER Lang from Rocky III, acted by Hollywood star Mr. T. CLUBBER Lang brought Pain. 

Unlike the former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed(Rocky's first anatagonist), CLUBBER Lang not only defeated Rocky Balboa in Rocky III for the heavyweight championship but his character had better promos, he had established himself through the boxing rankings, his swagger was flawless and, of course, his charisma! He whooped Rocky, and if he could, he would've swooped Adrian as well. 

The Rocky Balboa Run held on November 14th in Philadelphia had over 2,900+ participants enanamored with the Rocky franchise and characters.

Participants could run either the 5K race or the 10K race through the busy streets of Downtown Philadelphia. After registering for the 10K race, the Rocky Balboa Run listed 5 awards to earned:

Overall Male Runner
Overall Female Runner
Best Costume-Individual
Best Costume-Group

Largest Team

Who wouldn't want to cosplay as the only guy in the Rocky Franchise to beat the Rocky Balboa to become HeavyWeight Champion?

The day of the race, I was prepared.

The phone-alarm went off at 6:45am, a reminder of the 8:15am 10K Wave. I hit the showers, came back to my travel bag and there they were.

Denim Overalls.

I had never worn overalls since pre-school. But to ensure the 1980s inspired character, I was glad they fit well and allowed room to run. The next article of clothing-heavy jewelry. 

And of course, you have to wear the black StereoTypeCo Sweatshirt to stay warm while inspiring others to finish the race. 

Three gold necklaces, two rings, a black StereoTypeCo sweatshirt and a 'Rocky' inspired beanie later, I entered the costume contest as CLUBBER Lang.

After check-in, CLUBBER Lang approached the start line and instantly felt the electricity. The people are staring at the costume. Smiling. Cheering. Adults and children are sneaking camera- phone pictures, and offering high-fives. 

And after the star-spangled banner played overhead, CLUBBER Lang is no longer just a cosplayer.

CLUBBER Lang became a featured participant in his own nemesis backyard. I pitied the fool.


The first 3 miles of the 10K (6.2 miles) CLUBBER Lang stops every quarter mile for a mid-race selfie for everything. 

"Yeah, Mr. T!"
"I pity the fool!"
"Sorry to ruin your pace, but I have GOT to get a selfie with you...."

Eventually, CLUBBER Lang embraces his character. He channels his macho bravado and shouts triumphantly to either motivate those giving up, slowing down, or dressed as Rocky Balboa. 

Who says the Bad guy couldn't use his gold chains and black sweatshirt for good?

"Pick up the pace, fool!"
"You ain't nothin, Balboa. Imma finish this race before yew!"

The laughter, high fives, daps and Hugs continued...

And then the finish line approaches. 

And As CLUBBER Lang looks to his right, there was a Rocky cosplayer increasing his speed as well.

Rocky looked at CLUBBER.
CLUBBER nods back at Rocky.
And Someone from the crowd yells,"Okay, here we go!!"

....And the 12th round bell had rung....

Rocky and CLUBBER begin sprinting to the finish line. The crowd goes NUTS. Cameras flash. 

A main event finish would ensue. So, we sell the race as Rocky and CLUBBER did in the movies.

"You can't beat me Balboa! You ain't tough!! You ain't tough!!!", Clubber shouted.

"Not today Mr. T!", Rocky heavily replied.

He's leading. I lead. We're tied. 

A gap emerges.

And like that, the race is over.

And similar to the ending of Rocky III, you will never know who won the greatest boxing match of 2015...

I pity the fool who doesn't follow their dreams. 

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