Boxing, the Machine and Cheese Steaks: Part 1


By Matthew Vanderford

Matthew VanderfordI love the movie Rocky, my kids love Rocky, even my wife kinda likes Rocky. I mean she has to, she and her family are from Philly. And you can’t be from Philly without being from Philly. That’s like asking a zebra to not have stripes – what – are you kidding me?! And there’s something about Philly that makes it…well…you know…Philly! There’s something about a town that’s name means brotherly love, a town that’s known for Santa being hit by a snowball on a nationally televised football game, a city marked with one of the most classic sports movies ever made, Rocky!! And it’s a place you can only get an authentic Chedda Wit. You have no idea how good it is to eat a soft and hot Amorosa bread roll at 2 a.m. when it’s filled with chopped up bits of hot and greasy beef, served with sautéed onions and peppers, smothered with a heaping pile of liquid cheddar cheese goodness, topped with ketchup and mustard, while in the heart of South Philly, just a few blocks away from where the iconic scene of the character Rocky running in the streets of Little Italy.

The funny thing is, my wife’s mom grew up right around the corner from Sylvester Stallone (the actor who played Rocky). She, her sisters and cousins used to peek in his basement window to watch his brother Frankie’s band practice. And even though I grew up in Jersey, Philly….A.K.A. Rocky… is in my blood too. When I was in junior high, a group of my friends had a sandlot boxing circle. We would get together, watch Rocky, and then split one set of boxing gloves between the two of us. One would get a glove for the left hand, and one for the right. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t use the left as well as your right, you got what you got, and you better make it work. My friends and I would watch the first movie, take turns swapping hooks, jabs and uppercuts, and then walk more than three miles in the snow, just to go and rent Rocky II from the local grocery store.

One thing’s for sure –Philadelphians really love a good story about an underdog, and that’s what Rocky is all about. It’s about a person who trains his hardest to get the ever living snot kicked out of him – to get up and say I did it – I made it, I went the distance, got beat up, bloodied and against all odds, did what everyone thought I couldn’t, I went all 12 rounds.

So what’s all this boxing have to do with insurance you might ask?

Well, to speak on insurance I want to preface what this article is not. This article is not an article to say that insurance companies want to beat you up if you file a claim. What it is about, is understanding that insurance, as I affectionately refer to as “The Machine,” is just that, a machine. It’s a well thought out, very calculated, and disciplined machine. And this machine, just like in Rocky IV, needs to be understood, respected and properly prepared for when filing a claim. Because filing a claim is not personal – it never is. But we take it that way because filing a claim usually consists of things that you hold dear being damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen. Filing a claim is about trying to recover what you’ve put sweat, tears, blood and years into. So, in a way it does become personal to you, but not to “The Machine.”

So before the next article, take a moment and go watch Rocky – one or all – you could really binge. But really – go watch it. You’ll love it. And if you don’t, that’s ok too – that’s the spirit of Philadelphia – brotherly love. Letting people be people, and then being there for those when they need it most, even if we disagree.