Much attention was given last week to the grim ‘anniversary of Covid’. Whatever the (genuine) joy and pleasure of the Great Return this March, it’s a year since our last play. A year since our last fixture. A year since our last real (ie cross-year group) assembly and a year since the last trip. Watching another excellent Saturday of training (indoor, under Mr Ward’s and his colleagues’ cricketing eyes, outdoor under Mr Kember’s, Mr Martin’s, Dr Stagno’s and many other great colleagues’ equally enthusiastic eyes) was of course great. And as a colleague said, important that the boys get back into the disciplines of training as well as the enthusiasm – just as we, like I guess every school, have had to remind of behavioural norms in school generally.
But as resilient as most young people are – they do ‘bounce back’ – a year is a long time, and there is still too much missing. Matches, performances and dare I even say it exams are the staging posts, the fixing points to aim for, and the challenges which keep us going. Values of respect and listening, of empathy and growing as a person, of learning and self-challenge are harder when there are no such milestones.
So our determined plan for next term brings back as much as possible of these flagship events, challenges, fixtures and performances. We have been without them too long. And like the handshake (as described in The Handshake, a much-appreciated gift from a reader!) they are too deep in our DNA to be gone for good.