Sly Stallone had $106 dollars in the bank. He had just sold his dog. Bidding on his script for Rocky was peaking north of $300,000 based on the sole condition that someone else, someone more famous would play the title role. Sly stood his ground and ended up taking $8000 after taxes with a weekly rate of $340 for his performance. I conclude my “Sparring Artist” series of short essays with the story behind the story that has brought me deep solace and comfort since I was a scrawny little boy. It brings tears to my eyes when I am made aware of the bond I share with such stories of courage. It is a mix of inspiration and the crucial question of “Do I have what it takes?” That is the artist in me. The part of me that spars does so because it is only by making facing that which thwarts me a common daily practice that I have the strength I need precisely when I need it. Put the two together and I would say that fight and dance truly belong in the same metaphorical space. It is what makes me a sparring artist.