From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hilldeveloper
It has been a really enjoyable week, and it finally feels like the School has returned to something like pre-Covid-19 normal. We had a wonderful day of fixtures against Barker College for Reconciliation Round last weekend, and it was relief to have the refurbished No. 2 Oval handed back. We had the House Track and Field Championships on a glorious winter’s day on Monday, where House spirit and that difficult to measure, but ‘you know it when you see it’ sense of belonging was on full display. Year 8 attended the Stand Tall Conference, Year 9 Residential 3 had their pre-camp briefings, and the House Singing Competition began. We also heard an excellent address from Evangelos Papadopoulos (12Hi) who spoke about culture, and what it meant to be a Trinitarian. A precis of his remarks follows, but it made me reflect on the purpose of insisting that your sons come along and watch the 1st VI, 1st XV or 1st XI. It struck me that a helpful way to think about these compulsory Home fixtures was to see your son’s participation as that of supporter rather than as a spectator. If you are a spectator, you are there for your own gratification, to enjoy the spectacular bicycle kick by Sebastien Portolesi (12Ar), or to marvel at the wonderful strike by Shivam Wadhera (11Ke) that is a contender for the goal of the season, or the extraordinary resilience and toughness of Lucas Young (11We) who was awarded the 1st XV Man of the Match by Barker College on Saturday. At these moments, cheering is easy. But, if you are a supporter, you are part of something bigger than yourself. If your team is not doing so well, if the opponent is bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilful, and if the scoreboard does not flatter, your role then becomes different. It is not about you, it is about your team and your School. I remarked to our School Officers on the weekend that Barker College had managed to silence the crowd because they were a very impressive schoolboy team who dominated the game, and that this was something to reflect on as student leaders. My challenge to them was to develop a culture where the support and cheering got louder and more constant the more their team needed them, that when the going got metaphorically tough, the tough got going. Perhaps it is a semantic exercise that is a little too esoteric for boys and young men, but it is much more admirable to be a supporter, to focus on being a part of something bigger than yourself, than a spectator.
Three weeks ago, I found myself enjoying a surprisingly sunny Saturday afternoon on No. 1 Oval watching, and more importantly supporting, the 1st XV. The Year 8’s cheering was, well, ok for your first time, post Covid. You guys were trying, your voices raised in unity, supporting the boys in green. But then I heard something … something a little disturbing. Something that was not part of the culture of Trinity Grammar School. I heard taunts and jeers. Now I’m all up for a bit of rivalry but sledging and disrespect is just not on. After we won the game and were performing our traditional chant ‘TRI’ with the victorious 1st XV, I had a thought, and here it is. We are all very fortunate young men whose families have made sacrifices to send us to this school to get a great education in Mind, Body and Spirit. As Hugh highlighted in his speech a couple of weeks ago, there is so much opportunity at Trinity. When we come here, we are one; a cohort, a community, a family. So, no matter who you are, where you come from, what year you are in, whether you are the Dux of the School, the best cellist, fastest sprinter, it doesn’t matter, we are all Trinity men. We are all part of a team, and it is our unique talents and differences that actually makes us stronger. By now, you may be asking; “Evangelos, what’s your point?” Well, it’s this; that strength comes from building each other up. Whether it be on the Rugby field, Volleyball court, the classroom and or the playground, it’s better to support each other than tear each other down. Our differences are to be celebrated! A high five is always better than a low blow. Because no matter who we are we need to be there for each other and remember deep down we all bleed green.
Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill