Eye of the Tiger

Have you lost your “edge?” Do you have goals you want to achieve but need inspiration? Well, you could hire a life coach or watch good ol’ Rocky III! lol

#rockyIII #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting

Who doesn’t get jazzed when they hear those opening chords of the 80s anthem, Eye of the Tiger?

Sylvester Stallone himself requested this song for Rocky III as a theme song for the return of America’s favorite boxer, beloved Rocky Balboa (played by Stallone himself, of course!). Fun factoid: Stallone actually wanted Another One Bites the Dust, by Queen, but they would not relinquish the song rights.

So, Eye of the Tiger it is! It’s hard to imagine anything else.

Quick recap:

Rocky I: Rocky Balboa barely beats Apollo Creed in the ring

Rocky II: in the rematch, Rocky beats Apollo again…


Rocky III: he fights the fearless, gruesome Mr. T!

As a Gen X’er, I grew up on the Rocky movies, and as I watched the trailers, particularly for Rocky III, yes, they do seem cheesy and outdated, but the bravado and awesome story of this once-underdog from Philadelphia seeing his dreams come true as a boxing champion inspires me. In Rocky I, we saw Rocky as a true nobody, who:

“Rising up, back on the street,

Did my time, took my chances…”

…and he did. He beat Apollo not once, but twice, and became the heavyweight champion of the world!

At the beginning of Rocky III, Balboa learns that his coach, Mickey, has been rigging his fights since then to protect him, so Rocky has become afflicted with the worst thing that can happen to any boxer: he’s gone “soft.” Rocky is married, rich, and famous:

So many times it happens too fast

You trade your passion for glory

Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past

You must fight just to keep them alive.”

Apollo takes over the challenging job of being Rocky’s coach when Rocky himself no longer possesses the toughness he once did; Rocky must dig deep within himself to rediscover his own “Eye of the Tiger.” But he struggles to find that old fighting spirit that made him famous.

And can’t we all relate? We’ve all had to reinvent ourselves at one time or another, just like the American icon that Rocky is. And it’s up to Apollo now to help him regain that big cat drive:

“It’s the eye of the tiger

It’s the thrill of the fight

Rising up to the challenge of our rival

And the last known survivor

Stalks his prey in the night

And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger”

Eventually, our hero regains the stealthy, nocturnal, lightning-fast instincts of a tiger on the prowl in the ring, ultimately defending his championship title against Mr. T.

Here is a video for Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor. There are a lot of Eye of the Tiger videos out there, but I liked this one because it is entirely comprised of excerpts from the movie.

ASSIGNMENT: Share a Rocky movie memory, and whether or not you have any connection to this song. How have you used Rocky music to “pump” you up? Do you have a specific story that you’d be willing to share?

Or what challenges do you need to “rise” up to?

For me, I have had to hit the reset button on my memoir manuscripts four times for almost five years before feeling like I really had the beginnings of an intuitive book that is truly me. But versions one through three? Shadowboxing.

I look forward to your comments. And as for that challenge, in those famous, guttural words of Rocky facing his opponent: Go for it.

p.s. this blog was inspired by my new friends at http://songshinesounds.com. Check ’em out!


  1. I’m not sure if you happened to read the post about my recent pie eating contest. Part of the deal was picking my entrance song, and I considered “The Eye of the Tiger.” My goal was street cred with my students. I ultimately went with 90s rap.

    Rocky and rap aside, I started writing my memoir with one essay in 2011. For years, it was more like essay, essay, essay. I didn’t know exactly where to begin or end or how to connect the pieces, so I returned to school for a Creative Writing MFA in 2020 and continued revisions. Since May of 2021, the story has been resting in a drawer. My plan for the summer is another round of revision before I take my next steps toward publication.

    Liked by 1 person

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