12 November 2018

From the Head of Junior School

Say it isn't so

'Shoeless' Joe Jackson was an American professional baseball player who played in the early 1900's. He was renowned for his performance both on the field and his association with the Chicago Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 Major League Baseball World Series. His involvement in that betting scandal resulted in a lifetime ban from major league baseball at the prime of his career.

A famous line in the folklore of baseball came out of that incident when a young boy stood on the steps of the Baseball Commission when 'Shoeless' Joe and his teammates from the White Soxs entered the commission for their final hearing. The young boy looked up to his sporting hero and said 'Say it isn't so, Joe. Say it isn't so!' Imploring his baseball hero to tell him that he didn't cheat in the 1919 World Series.

Over the past weekend, the Australian cricket world was rocked by the cheating scandal involving the Australian Captain, the Vice Captain and a player. If you remember back to the Summer when Vice Captain David Warner commented on the integrity of Australian cricket as he complained against the perceived cheating by South Africa in the 2016 Test series, "I won't comment on the way (South Africa) have been behaving but I just know from an Australian cricket perspective: we hold our heads high and I'll be very disappointed if one of our teammates (did that)," he said. Looking at his recent actions, the hypocrisy of that statement is very clear today.

So, how do we talk about an incident such as this with our children? How do we explain to them that the people we look up to, their heroes, have done what they have done and have brought such ridicule upon Australia and the fine sport of cricket? It is a challenging one.

At Scotch we talk daily about integrity, about honour, about doing things properly and demonstrating the best characteristics of a Scotch boy. Characteristics which we hope will be demonstrated as the best characters of a fine young man as he leaves our College. We talk about fair play, having a go, not being afraid to fail. The context of which we will have to put the action of those cricketers into is likely to be human fallibility. Perhaps an over-competitive drive and the idea that doing whatever it takes to win is perhaps is not always the best motto especially if it involves unfair play.

My hope is that our boys will learn a valuable lesson in the disappointing actions of the Australian cricketers. They will see that winning at all costs is not worth it, especially if that cost is your integrity, your honour and your reputation.

The College values excellence coupled with stewardship, acting with responsibility in an honourable manner, service acts that are helpful, providing assistance and support and above all integrity. We ask the boys to adhere to moral and ethical principles and soundness of moral character and honesty. High ideals I know, but these are things to aspire to as life goes on around us. We may falter but we hope that our boys will learn, continue to work towards these values and see them as important.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School