Sylvester Stallone believed polo was ‘my destiny’ but ‘life had other plans’

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Sylvester Stallone almost took a very different career path before becoming an actor, writer, and director.

The “Rocky” star posted throwback photos on Instagram of himself playing polo, revealing that he once believed the sport was his “destiny.”

“Fun fact of the day: Stallone means Stallion in Italian. Funny but true – and for a good part of my life, I pursued my passion for polo, believing it was my destiny. But life had other plans and sidelined my dreams,” he wrote in the caption.

He continued, “Yet, I refused to let that be the end of my journey. When one door closed, another opened— only this time, it was one of creativity and resilience. I embraced writing and acting with fervor, shaping a path I never imagined.”

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Stallone concluded the post with words of encouragement, writing, “So, when life knocks you down, remember: Get back on your horse. Keep punching.” 

The 77-year-old previously detailed his polo dreams in his Netflix documentary, “Sly.”

At 13, Stallone had become a nationally ranked polo player while living in Maryland with his father following his parents’ divorce.

However, Frank Stallone Sr. appeared to be jealous of his son’s success, and Stallone recalled that in the middle of a game, his father began screaming at him from the stands, and then came onto the field. 

Side by side photos of Sylvester Stallone and his father, Frank Stallone Sr.

“I was going for a nearside backhand, and I didn’t do anything wrong — he goes, ‘You’re pulling too hard on the horse!’” he said.

“[Frank] comes out of the stands, grabs me by the throat, throws me on the ground, takes the horse, and walks off the field.”

He added, “I laid there and I went, ‘I never want to see a horse again in my whole life.’”

Stallone did play polo again at 40 and even invited his father to play with him in a game. But during the match, Frank Sr. hit Stallone in the back, and he fell off the horse, which nearly trampled him. Stallone recalled, “He just rode away.”

Sylvester Stallone riding a horse

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The actor added sadly, “That was it. I never played polo again from that moment on.”

The “Rambo” star went on to pursue acting and writing, and became the beloved Hollywood icon he’s known as today.

He echoed his post’s “Keep punching” mantra last year at the inaugural “Rocky Day” in Philadelphia in December.

“Life is a fight,” he said in a speech to the thousands gathered at the base of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “It’s a tough fight and get ready. 

Sylvester Stallone speaks to the crowd on "Rocky Day" in Philadelphia.

“You’re going to win some and you’re gonna lose a lot. But the real victory is in never giving up and going the distance for yourself, your loved ones, and standing at the top of these steps, you’re reminded that all things are possible.

“Keep punching!” he concluded with cheers from the crowd.



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