Instantly, I started making connections to what Hamish had written with his One More Round analogy to Rocky IV.
(For another great connection, see Andy Jacks (@_AndyJacks) follow-up piece The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency that relates the fourth quarter to this final stretch that we are entering in our school year.)
Back to Rocky IV. I love Rocky IV (guilty pleasure, I know). I can't tell you how many times that I've watched Rocky IV. And there are so many great messages and themes embedded within the plot of Rocky IV.
Some of the messages and life lessons - preparation, commitment, perseverance, desire, and confidence to name a few - that are highlighted in Rocky IV, are a main reason that I LOVE sports. The character traits that sports teach us are the character traits that we all need to embody as educators. And these are the character traits that we all need to explicitly teach to our students.
There are some wonderful scenes leading-up to Rocky Balboa's Christmas Day fight in Russia with Ivan Drago. But the bout between Rocky and Drago kind of encompasses the roller coaster of emotions that we, as educators, experience any given school year.
School starts and you are ready; you've spent the past month (couple of months) preparing. It is going to be a tough fight, but you've got this. You're anxious, and that anxiousness is a good feeling of excitement!
While the year started well, things have taken a turn. The days are getting longer, and stuff is coming at you. You're back is against the ropes. You feel as though you are about to get knocked down and/or even knocked out.
But you don't. Somewhere, somehow you find the inspiration that you need. Maybe it's your PLC or your PLN or your family and friends. The inspiration that your kids deserve. You keep going.
You scratch, you claw, you do whatever it takes to gain advantage. Because #KidsDeserveIt and this is the ONE and ONLY chance that you get to make an impact with them.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. You start to feel re-energized. You keep moving forward. Bit-by-bit you keep chipping and clawing away at it.
You did it. You made it. You are exhausted, but you feel wonderful. You know that you just gave your best effort; you poured your heart and soul into something - these students, YOUR KIDS - for nine months.
Like Duke tells Rocky...
"Everything you've got. Right now!" Finish the year strong. We're almost there.