This week the movie Creed, the latest iteration in Rocky saga the hits cable and streaming channels. In the movie for those who aren’t Rocky fans the illegitimate son of Rocky Balboa’s boxing rival and best friend Apollo Creed shows up in Philly and asks Balboa to train him. Let me say at the outset, I liked this movie it was well done. The acting was good, it has gritty engaging story line and is in my opinion a worthy addition to the Rocky chronicles. In a pivotal scene, Adonis Creed convinces Rocky to let him move in to continue his training there is some interesting banter that caught my attention. Rocky tells Creed he isn’t comfortable having someone live with him. Creed asks why he can’t move in. Then offers this possibility.
“What you walk around naked?”
Balboa says no and Creed responds “OK then” turns walks away as if that possibility taken out of the picture all is good and settled. As Creed walks away Rocky shouts back at him.
“You better not walk around naked either.”Then under his breath says “Better not!”
This dialogue takes place in uNuer of 30 seconds. It illustrates where mass media and collective unconscious of modern society is on the subject of simple nudity and being clothes free around other people. Modern society has lost its connection to simple nudity. For many reasons which requine a fuller discussion of its own, modern society has forgotten; maybe conveniently, maybe to its detriment, how many activities of life including sporting activities like boxing were at one time done clothes free.
I am unsure what dire consequences the writers foresaw if two adult men one black one white actually saw each other naked just walking around a home engaged in ordinary everyday activity. Truth is in the not too distant European past and in many non European cultures fighters, top fighters, the best athletes competed hand to hand Mano a Mano without clothes.
Maybe it was the sports equipment industry’s influence, or maybe it’s the nature of the sports entertainment complex with its insistence toward accessorizing champions to create marketable brands. Somewhere along the line maybe in its pursue of bigger harder better, sports like much of the rest of the modern seems to have forgotten bare essentials of competition. It has lost touch the truism that most natural competitive engagement is people, warriors, fighters, competitors, stripped of all accoutrement in head to head competition. That is where the heart of the champion, the eye of the tiger is revealed. Pre-modern cultures and society understood this. Modern sports, like the society it reflects has lost it connection to this. Thankfully there are a few athletes in one sport, rugby who have reclaimed the connection. ESPN the sports network that’s is everywhere in every sport publishes the body issue every year showing athletes clothes free in their sport. Earlier this year a few naturists in Brazil host of the Olympic Games conducted their own symbolic Olympics nude. But clothes free athletic completion is almost non existent in the modern arena of sports.
What does the future hold? It’s unlikely that the modern sports industry will suddenly shift towards naked athletics. Let’s be honest, though many athletic competitions can be done clothes free, some sports do need protective equipment or gear. I don’t think we are going to see clothes free boxing on Showtime or HBO any time soon. But if those of us who promote clothes free living, naturist ideals and nudist practice can help people connect to their pre-modern and more natural competitive experience there may come a day when clothes free athletics make a come back. Until then we should continue to help ordinary folks be able to respond with ease to the question what you walk around naked? With a comfortable YES