From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

This week we were treated to two wonderful musical performances on the Quad. On Wednesday, we celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Marching Band with a mini-concert that included a number of Old Boys, including Mr Greg Allardice from the Class of 1969, and Mr Daniel Furnari, drummer of the ARIA Award nominated heavy metal band, Polaris, from the Class of 2011, who joined our boys and young men for a wonderful set. My highlight was Eye of the Tiger, the one hit wonder made famous in the eponymous Rocky III. Then, on Friday, we heard an outdoor performance on the Quad by the choir of David Bowie’s Life on Mars. Both performances were absolutely fantastic, and it is edifying to be able to showcase the developing talent of the boys and young men in the Music co-curricular programme.

Tomorrow is our last Home Game for the season against Cranbrook School, and one of the idiosyncrasies of Trinity is that we make attendance at Home fixtures compulsory. In maintaining this longstanding tradition, we tread a fine line between the very positive and protective development of a sense of belonging, where we respect our opponent and support our teams, and the toxic tribalism that makes the opponent the enemy. If your son has been rostered to attend tomorrow, and the subject comes up over dinner, it would be worthwhile making this distinction with him. We deliberately want to cultivate a sense of belonging; in fact, we think it is a hallmark of great schools and institutions. We also want him to come along and support his School. Win, lose, or draw, we want your son to have a sense of conviction that Trinity is the best school … because it is his school. To that end, and in a reprise of my remarks following the last Home Game, it strikes me that a helpful way to think about these compulsory Home fixtures is 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 skills, or to marvel at the determination and resilience of our 1st Grade teams. 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 2023 School Officers on their Retreat this week that Barker College had managed to silence the crowd attending the 1st XV fixture because they dominated the game, and that this was something to reflect on as student leaders. Our 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, motivated by the pride and sense of belonging to their School. 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 who attends only because there is something in it for him.

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

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