Jeff Symms | Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School
Last weekend, while watching our boys play rugby, I was struck once again by just how much they enjoyed being out in the glorious Gold Coast winter sunshine, running around with their mates and just reveling in the experience.
The games were competitive and teams were presented with some challenges from time to time, but all boys – the TSS lads and their opposition – demonstrated resilience, determination and a great team spirit. Voices raised in encouragement were common as the boys spurred each other on. There were slaps on the back all round, and at the end of each game there were lots of tired, but satisfied boys, ready for something to eat. A typical round of kids sport.
Yet as the day unfolded, amidst all of this positive physical activity and character building, there were one or two disappointments. And they didn’t come from the actions of the boys.
From time to time, and across all games and ages, I witnessed referees and touchies, having to remind the adults present about how best to demonstrate support from the sidelines. I saw them having to have a quiet word with an overzealous parent every now and then or quietly remind others not to make negative comment when a boy made a mistake.
I witnessed this from a small number of adults who were visiting the campus as supporters of opposing teams, and not from our TSS parents, and I was very thankful that this was the case. While I am certain that not all of us are totally squeaky clean when it comes to this issue, and that in the heat of the moment any one of us can make mistakes, I do feel that as a community we understand the negative impact that we can have on children’s enjoyment of sport if we behave in a less than sporting manner.
Can I also be very clear that I felt that our parents who were officiating at the games – as referee or touch judge – managed each encounter brilliantly. Calmly giving a reminder, clearly and politely explaining their concern and keeping the focus on the game.
I reflected though that these parents, from our school and from other other clubs, who give so generously of their time to support the boys through officiating at matches, certainly don’t deserve the side-line negative commentary that they sometimes receive. The world of children’s sport, whether it be school or club based, relies on the contributions of volunteers to keep turning and if not for them, many fixtures would not be able to be held.
From where I stood, it wasn’t a major feature of the morning, and the games were terrific to watch. The way in which our parent volunteer officials went about their business gave me every confidence they were in control, but I’m sure as they worked hard to keep the game flowing and support the boys as they grew in their knowledge of the game and confidence in their abilities, they found it frustrating to have to deal with this issue at all. And they shouldn’t have to.
As adults we have a choice. We can demonstrate to our sons that good sportsmanship matters, that being able to accept the highs and lows of sport with equal grace is the real measure of a man or we can teach him to lack respect for officials, make excuses when we lose and that showing a lack of respect for our opposition through sledging is the way to behave.
I think we all know which option leads to the development of good men.
One of our most important roles as parents is to provide a good role model for our children. I am proud that my experience of TSS parents is that they understand the necessity of getting this right.
Over the weekend boys from Scots College visited the Gold Coast and were billeted by Prep families prior to their matches against our boys, played on Monday afternoon.
TSS enjoys a number of really close and long standing relationships with schools around the country and the regular visits that occur between them are a great opportunity for the boys to mix and make contacts. I know my own son remembers very fondly the families with whom he billeted while on school sports tours and the experiences he had while living, even briefly, as a member of their households.
I sincerely thank all families who welcomed these boys into their homes. Billeting is the backbone of these tours, not only as they help keep the costs down, but also and more importantly as they form a very valuable part of the experience. The generosity of our families in this way is very much appreciated.
Thanks also to the TSS staff involved with the visit – Mrs Marisa Schroder for her organisation of the event and Mr Egan, Mr Browne, Mr Richard Browne and Mr Beecher for their support and work with the teams who played. I also thank Mr Ian Faber and Mr Peter van der Schyff for the bar-b-que and to Mrs Deb Goudy and Mr Remy Melia for all their assistance.
I know that the Scots boys left feeling very well looked after by our TSS community.
This time of year is always very busy in terms of enrolments and what available places we have which are beginning to fill very quickly. As I always do at this time, I remind parents that it is important to have lodged an application with the admissions office as early as possible.
Preschool and Reception places are always at a premium and the upper Preparatory entry years of 5 and 6 have the few vacancies available that get filled very quickly.
If you are aware of any family, neighbours or work colleagues considering a place at our school for their son in 2018, please advise them to contact the school as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
This term the boys will compete in two major House competitions – House Music and House Athletics, and both are big days in the school calendar.
The House Music competition (September 14), is a real highlight and parents are warmly invited to attend to watch their sons (Years 3-6) participate in their House Choir. Shepherd House have had a stranglehold on this competition for the past four years and so the other houses are out to claim their championship status. Don’t miss it!
House Athletics is eagerly anticipated by the boys. The opportunity to contribute to their House in whatever capacity they can is important and we are all looking forward to seeing which House is victorious on August 18.
Participation in the House activities is considered compulsory and we work hard for the boys to see this as a privilege. It is important to note also that boys who do not contribute to House activities over time do compromise future leadership opportunities. We make it clear to the boys that House Leadership depends on an active history of House contribution. Boys should not leave the Athletics carnival early as we want them to support their House mates and be present for the presentations.
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