Recently I spoke with all Senior School students who aspired to make the First teams in our Winter sports. The coaches and teachers-in-charge of basketball, football, hockey, rugby, soccer and table tennis were also present.
Representing your School at the highest level is an absolute honour. School sport is probably more special and memorable than club sport in many ways. This is most likely because you get to play with your mates that you see each day of the week, and talk about the game more often with your peers. There’s also the long tradition and history, as well as the thrill of having hundreds of fellow students support you at an Intercol.
But with this honour comes responsibility. The pressure to perform. To meet expectations of the community. Becoming a role-model to others.
Our School’s values are Truth, Respect and Service. Service is about giving your everything for a bigger cause, doing your small part to contribute to the team. Truth means being honest and being yourself. You can’t be two people. You have to be the same person off the field that you are on the field. And we must always respect our team, our coaches, the umpires and the opposition.
Once a student pulls on that jumper, they are representing over 170 years of history. They represent everything we stand for as a School – Truth, Respect and Service. Our students need to understand and appreciate that coaches and teachers are looking to select students based not only on their abilities on the field, but also the kind of person they are and values they display off the field.
To this end, I touched on three key aspects of the student’s life which they need to be aware are very much central to the kind of person they are.
Firstly, their behavior and language on the field. As a School, we simply cannot stand for our players making homophobic, racist or misogynistic comments directed at each other or to the opposition. And as role-models and leaders, we expect our First team players to call each other out and ensure all the team shows due respect at all times.
Secondly, I outlined that what the boys say or share on social media is also relevant. Photos they put on SnapChat are representing the School’s image, and they will be held to account for them. It will be the same for any homophobic, racist or misogynistic comments they make. While we won’t scan the internet looking for these, if they are brought to our attention, the boys will be held to account.
Finally, our First teams are selected to perform at their peak. If students are spending time on the weekend over-indulging in alcohol, then they are not showing the desired commitment we expect. They cannot perform at their peak as a sportsman if they are filling their bodies with alcohol on a regular basis. I know that some students are very keen to address this behavior and expect their teammates to buy into this. As a School, I applaud those students who have initiated this courageous discussion with their teammates.
I want to make it very clear to each and every student who aspires to be in the First teams, that if their on and off field behaviour does not reflect the values of the School they should not be surprised if their position in First leadership group, or their candidacy for symbols or colours is brought into question. Truth, Respect and Service.
Being in the Firsts is a tremendous honour. Our students deserve the chance to give the best version of themselves when undertaking this honour. They should expect the best of themselves, and their teammates.
Pro Deo at Patria
Mr David Scott
Head of Senior Years