I love movies.  I love books.  And I love music.  Plenty of the subjects I write about here and on other blogs are often related back to one of these three things.

Today there’s plenty to pull from.  Finals are over.

The darkness known as Fall Semester 2014 has been defeated.  The twisted beast bound together by group projects, portfolios, presentations and exams has been soundly defeated on the Fields of Final Exams.  The Ring has been thrown into the blazing furnace of Mount Doom.  That last roundhouse kick has been swung into the head of the enemy as the text spelling out “Fatality” floats above.  The last attack run on the Death Star just broke free of the explosion.  John Wayne is walking off into the sunset, tipping his hat to the camera.  Clint Eastwood is swinging on his horse, lighting his cigarette as he grimaces into the sun.  The US Team just scored the winning goal on the USSR Hockey Team and the announcers are shouting, “Do you believe in miracles?!”

Our long national nightmare is over.

I was very nervous about finals week.  I had been keeping up with my classes.  But finals.  That’s a big deal.  That’s the big test.  It’s that moment when Gandalf says,

“The board is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last…The great battle of our time.”

LIke Tony D’Amato says in “Any Given Sunday,

“On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is – can you win or lose like a man?”

It’s kind of like The Goonies when MIkey makes his stand by saying,

“Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here.”

It’s like when Amy Pond in Doctor Who meets her older self who warns her,

“Okay, kid. This is where it gets complicated.”

It’s like in the latest Godzilla movie where Dr. Ichiro Serizawa urges the military,

“Let them fight.”

It’s a big deal.  Finals can make or break your grade depending on how many points are assigned to the exam at the end of the semester.  The pressure can be extraordinary.  And here I was facing a week of work, studying and last minute preparation.  You also have to understand why I was feeling this way.  This was my first round of full finals in 13 years.  I had one class last semester but it was just one.  Now I had four classes.  Two projects, two full final exams.  It was very much a Ray Arnold from Jurassic Park moment where he mutters,

“Hold onto your butts.”

And so I threw myself into my work.  I downed more caffeinated tea than is probably recommended by the US Government.  I buried my head in my computer.  I found a corner in the computer lab my school and continued.  I copied notes.  I studied over and over frenetically and frantically.  I cursed (under my breath) younger students who were kicking back and relaxing.  I may have even started to growl at certain frustrating passages in my study packets towards the end.

Thursday was the biggest of all the days.  We had a one act to present in full costume, full set and full everything.  And you know what?  It went off without a hitch.  We were like The Great Bambino lumbering to the plate at Wriglee Field. After going a few acrimonious rounds with the pitcher Babe Ruth gestured to the open field before him.

The pitcher checked his signals and gave George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr one last look.

We stood in our positions on stage and off stage.

The ball goes into the wind up in the masterful hands of the Chicago Cubs pitcher.

The opening lines began.

The whistle of the wind whips as Babe Ruth eyes the incoming pitch.

We were strong.  Everyone was on with characters and interactions.

It flies ever closer to the reach of The Babe.

And we are getting closer to the end of the play.  The last lines are nearly there.  The finish line is closing in fast.

The bat of the cigar chomping baseball legend cracks.  And a moment of legend is born.

The last lines are spoken. A moment of silence holds.  And then the applause.  The compliments.  The encouragements.  We did it.  We hit ourselves a home run.

And just like The New York Yankees and Game 3 of the World Series on October 1st, 1932, I took the rest of the day with swagger, confidence and a (W) in the win column.  I rocked my history final.  And I got 80/100 on my developmental psychology final.  I walked off campus that night feeling like I had done the impossible.  I had done something I never thought I’d do again – finish strong in college.

Now there’s a break in the storm.  I’ll enjoy it while I can.  But I know this is just the first bookin a metaphorical multi volume anthology story of my journey.  There’s victory here.  Good has been done here today.  But there’s the threat of a “Empire Strikes Back” or even a “The Two Towers”.  That adventure will unfold in a month or so.  And you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be here chronicling it all – the good, the bad and the ugly.

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