11 September 2017

Grace and humility leave the strongest mark

The winter sports season came to an end last Saturday with the boys approaching the final round with some anticipation. The Firsts Badminton had secured the season premiership the week before and the Firsts Rugby and Football teams went into last Saturday's clash with Trinity knowing a win would guarantee both codes their respective season titles. As many now know, Scotch College won all Firsts games on Saturday and now holds the trophies for the Brother Kelly Cup (Badminton), Brother Redmond Cup (Rugby) and shares the Alcock Cup (Football) with Hale School. Firsts Hockey had a very strong season, finishing second.

While we admire acts of courage, effort and skill from so many of the boys across all year groups and a wide range of activities, it is the acts of humility and grace that leave the strongest mark. This was the message I shared at the Senior School assembly on Friday before the last round of sporting fixtures. The example used was that of Cameron McEvoy who the day before finished 7th in the 100 metre freestyle, an event he was favoured to win. At the end of the race Cameron McEvoy stood at the end of the pool looking at the electronic scoreboard, running his eyes up and down the table looking at times, places and his name in 7th place. While all of the other swimmers had left the pool, some scurrying off the pool deck and back to the change rooms, Kyle Chalmers, the 18 year-old Australian school-boy who had just won the gold medal in the same event stood waiting for Cam McEvoy. Despite winning a gold medal at the age of 18 and entitled to be caught up in the euphoria of this remarkable achievement, Kyle was still thinking about his mate who was the favourite to win the race.

When interviewed on the pool deck, not in a press conference when he had the chance to comprehend the race, but at the time when his emotions were most raw, Cameron made sure his teammate got all the attention he deserved.

"Not the best (race). My preparation was good all year round and it was probably just the last week or so I imagine that has probably thrown me," McEvoy said.

"But enough about me. Kyle's come in and done another PB on top of the PB he did at the (Olympic) trials. He's just turned 18 and he's an Olympic champion - that's bloody wonderful isn't it."

Acts of grace such as that shown by Cameron McEvoy are not lost on our boys. The day after our Senior School assembly, we witnessed similar acts of sportsmanship and humility on the sporting field. The Firsts Rugby, having just won the premiership formed a tunnel to congratulate the opposition as they came off the field. The captains of both teams gave speeches and not before the conclusion of the post game presentations did the Scotch team run onto the field to celebrate in the usual manner.

On an adjacent field, following a hard fought victory in the Firsts Football that secured equal first place for the season, a similar act of humility was on display. As a large number of spectators ran on to the field to celebrate the victory and consequently the season premiership, Tom Gooch (Year 12, Keys) and Jack Monaghan (Year 11, Alexander) showed maturity and humility beyond their years. Both Tom and Jack chose to acknowledge the opposition players with whom they and their teammates had just competed fiercely with before joining their teammates in a well-deserved celebration. While we hear and read about the development of character in young people these ideals have to be demonstrated through action. The examples on the weekend certainly provided a strong example of what character looks like, both before and after the final siren.

Tom gooch rugby

Dr Rob McEwan

Head of Senior School