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Character Building Moments

In the 1960s English Prime Minister Harold Wilson is renowned for saying that “a week is a long time in politics”. The same can be said about sport! On Tuesday my wife Sarah sent me a text during the day to tell me that John MIllman had defeated Roger Federer, one of the biggest upsets in tennis history and a truly commendable effort for a person who has persevered through much adversity to remain focused on his goals.

On hearing this, I immediately thought about Spencer Smart in Year 5.

On Saturday I made the trek along with the ATC junior school tennis players to Coops Tennis Centre for a round of fixtures against St Patrick’s College. Amongst many great performances, I had the pleasure of watching Spencer Smart in a very close singles match against his SPC counter-part. To say the match was a roller coast of highs and lows would be an understatement. Tennis is a tough game. There is nowhere to hide, there is often conjecture about where the ball lands versus where the player who lost the point thinks the ball landed and then there is the frustration of trying to remember the score!

I am pleased to report that Spencer persevered through the frustrations and lows to record a very well deserved win 7-6 with a 6 to 4 tie break to secure the win. I am sure that Spencer wouldn’t mind me saying that the standard of tennis played in his match was somewhat different to that played by MIllman and Federer, however it struck me that there are defining moments in sport that give people the opportunity to reach greater heights, to gain confidence and to turn potential narrow losses into memorable wins. I believe that these moments can define character and are the vehicle for developing mental strength. Likewise, sport provides moments of emotional growth and demonstration of emotional intelligence beyond the norm.

After watching Smarty defeat St Pat’s ‘Federer’, I jumped on the ‘band wagon’ and headed down to watch Jonathon Thurston play his last game of rugby league. Like me, I am sure many of you have great respect for JT’s achievements in sport, his talent and his many contributions to society beyond the world of rugby league. I am not a huge sentimentalist but I have been drawn into this farewell. Over the last week I have watched countless clips of JT playing footy, being interviewed and sharing his story. I am not saying he is a perfect human (none of us are), but the definition of JT for me, comes down to his being a part of the 2004 Canterbury Bulldogs Grand Final win, where JT gave his premiership ring to Steve Price, the injured team captain who couldn’t play in the Grand Final. I am sure you may remember the clip below and have been equally moved by his simple, yet powerful act of humility and generosity.

I spoke at orientation day this morning about ‘in, about and through’, a concept that I borrowed from Senior Physical Education. Our take at ATC is that boys learn life lessons ‘in, about and through’ co-curricular activities at our College. Whether it is the development of emotional intelligence, overcoming adversity or dealing with failure, I hope your son experiences meaning, growth and enjoyment in his co-curricular endeavours this weekend.

Warriors go Brach
Dave Capra
Director of Co-curricular Activities

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