By Nick McIvor | Posted: Thursday September 6, 2018
Congratulations to all the boys in the stand for the First XV Waitaki match last Wednesday.
I was seated along to the western end with supporters from both sides. While it was great to see our players have another win on the paddock (part of a broader exchange success) and with our community out in force, I found myself watching our ‘sideline school’ in action much of the time; drawn by how well our boys behaved, and very proud of their conduct.
The stand was crowded. The weather was miserable. And not every student is fanatical about rugby. And while we would like to think that all boys will rise to the occasion to be sporting at such a game or similar event, we can’t assume it. We all know that in larger numbers, groups of boys sometimes become ill-mannered or boorish when watching an exciting, competitive event, or forget themselves to reduce to behavior at its worst ‘mob – like’ and far from our POWER values. Sport doesn’t always bring out the best in us as Kiwis!
The mood in the stand was however good - humoured and fun. Boys were definitely enjoying the atmosphere and sporting tussle.
The school haka, led by Sidney Hamilton, sent strong support out to the middle (the stand itself projecting it like a giant speaker). This sparked unity and common purpose.
Singing of Eee Ah La Spatio was spontaneous and enthusiastic (not saying this euphemistically) and if unpolished in musical terms it was certainly not lacking gusto. It heartened many of the Old Boys there as well.
Regarding respect for the opposition, there was total, utter, ‘pin – dropping’ silence as the opposition took kicks at goal. When a player made an error there wasn’t a barrage of derogatory abuse or whistling. Players from both teams were warmly applauded as they were ‘subbed’ off. Departure from the stand was orderly in a congested space, and members of the public could leave easily. The facility was respected. It was, overall, an impressive sideline performance.
Why is all this important? It’s because the character of the school was on display, as it is every day somewhere, somehow.
Times like this are a true test of how far boys have chosen to make the right choices, and to accept good advice, when away from full or direct staff influence and not under close individual scrutiny. The boys heeded earlier requests from last Tuesday to be positive and to separate themselves from other Boys’ Schools we encounter with poorer self-control.
The boys also kept the inclusivity of the day’s Waitaki Assembly until the final whistle (at the Assembly, Old Boy Dick Tayler gave us memorable musings - including about his run for Commonwealth Gold in ‘74. The ‘Speedy Oil’ made its mystical appearance again too!)
Lastly, there was lots of mateship in the stand. So many boys were clearly keen to see their mates do well. This spoke to the bonds and kinship in the school. The final applause and passionate haka directed at the stand by the First XV at the end said it all really.
Knowledge is Power.
Scientia Potestas Est. Mā te Mātauranga te Mana.