Saturday, March 8, 2014

This I Believe: Life Lessons and Sports Movies

I believe in movies. Some people say that everything you need to know is learned in kindergarten, but I disagree. Life’s most important lessons are found in sports movies.

I have run a marathon, but I am not an athlete. I love sports, but I do not need to win. I can just see my daughter cringing when I say that. As the wife of a coach and the mom of a former collegiate softball player, sports have always been important to our family. And as an educator, I have often been struck by the parallels between teaching, learning, and coaching.

Do your best.
Be a team player.
Be passionate.
Never, ever give up.

What’s my favorite sports movie of all time? Major League-- and it’s no award winner. But I remember so many quotes from that movie and I love rooting for the Indians to win it all. As movies go, it’s kind of silly, but I love,  love the scene where Charlie Sheen heads out to the mound. Watch the crowd. It gives me the chills. They are all in. Passionate. They believe.

Remember the Titans.
My favorite quote and one I remember the most? Attitude reflects leadership. When I think about the attitude of my students about school and learning, I believe that they were a mirror for me. The days I didn’t bring my best, I didn’t get their best. Every day, as a leader, I want to model the attitude that I’m hoping for with my team, whether it’s students in a classroom or teachers in my school. I want our students and teachers to be curious, willing to try and fail, and to be inspired. That’s what I’m hoping to bring every day. Am I always successful? No. But every single day I have that goal.

Who do you play for?
I love learning. As often as I can, and as much as I can afford, I try to learn something new, whether it’s on Twitter, by reading a book, or attending a conference. In my first year as a principal, I sometimes get funny looks and even questions from teachers about this. “You’re here? You don’t have a classroom. Wow.” I get this a lot, or something like it. People are often surprised, but I need to be there. How can I lead learning in my school if I’m not a learner myself? I sometimes hear teachers say, “I can’t do that, I teach kindergarten” or something similar, but really, good teaching is good teaching. It’s our job as learners to make the connection to our life, to make the learning relevant. Today, I attended the Area 3 Writing Project Super Saturday session for 3rd-6th grade teachers about using conversation to improve student writing, and we started This I Believe writing. I’m already excited to see what our third grade team does with the idea, and we’re thinking of sharing this idea with our teachers next year. I couldn’t wait to get home and write this post! Who do I play for? I play for #teamlearning!

Never, ever give up.
Life is hard. There are mountains of obstacles blocking the path to success, but we can’t get discouraged. Every day, we may fail. We need to be willing to take risks, to have courage, to believe that the impossible can be achieved. This is the thing that gets me going every morning and keeps me awake at night, inspired by the possibilities if we just believe that anything is possible. We may fail, but we cannot lose.

I believe in movies. Some people say that everything you need to know is learned in kindergarten, but I disagree. Life’s most important lessons are found in sports movies. Wild thing, you make my heart sing!

Do you have a favorite quote or life lesson from a movie? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Hey Jennifer, I love this post and it has inspired me to consider writing a post on how Pixar Movies teach important life lessons. I always enjoy reading your blog and I am honored to say I know you. I will share the results of my "everything I have learned is from a Pixar movie" blog post.

  2. I believe in Jennifer Kloczko. Sparkle is contagious :)

  3. I too LOVE sports movies! Some of my favorites...Field of Dreams (if you build it they will come)...Hoosiers (If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners)....Rudy (I've been ready for this my whole entire life)...The Sandlot (Let me tell you something kid, everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people never take the chance, either 'cause they're too scared, or because they don't recognize it when it spits on their shoes. This is your big chance, and you shouldn't let it go by)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Jennifer, those are great ones! I especially love the Sandlot quote!