A number of parents and colleagues have said to me that this term feels more genuinely ‘normal’ than any yet since the dread days of Spring 2020, and it is true: no tests or limitations, and a real feeling of picking up threads again. So, within one 24-hour period just before the Bank Holiday, I was privileged to see the CCF Inspection, hear our choristers singing The Armed Man at the Fairfield Halls and watch some of the two dozen (yes) cricket fixtures on a glorious Saturday morning. I even managed to post an action shot, though I will never win Sports Photographer of the Year. Ever.
Though they are three very different forms of activity, they have of course much in common. Teamwork isn’t the preserve of sport: singing in an ensemble as the boys did on Friday evening demands discipline, careful listening and working together, especially when you are singing with professionals (in this case the London Mozart Players). There is of course music in the CCF too – the fantastic Corps of Drums, whose new recruits have spoken of their enthusiasm to try new challenges under student leadership (the Drum Major is U6 prefect Ed Wilkes). And cricket, like all sports (but perhaps more poignantly) teaches life lessons of patience and of the ups and downs of life. In the 1st XI game this weekend, Arjun Gill scored a splendid century, but it was the sight of juniors on Puntabout, the splendid U13 v U12 game and several other tight battles around the site which gave me as much pleasure.
Because of course the reasons we do these activities are the same too: because we enjoy them, of course; because they occupy and amuse; because, too, they develop relationships. Not just team spirit (though they do, all of these activities), but what others are good at (or not), how we respond to success and failure and how we get better; how we listen and live together.
Years ago I spent a year in a French school, where teachers and students only do the academic – hobbies are for local clubs. They could never understand it when I described how UK schools do activities. Personally, though I know I and we are privileged and have the space and the time, I can’t understand why everybody doesn’t.