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Embrace failure and pursue ambitions

Any one of the excellent cricket matches I was able to see on an idyllic Saturday this last weekend could furnish material for a blog! In the morning, the spirited Under 12 ‘A’ side carried off a victory against KCS, courtesy of at least one stunning catch, some fiery batting, determined bowling and a fine team spirit. I caught Mr Jackson’s excellent team talk in the afternoon as the Under 14 ‘A’ side took on Harrow; meanwhile for the Bs there was more fine catching by the boys (and one missed by a parent …). My point is, this was excellent school sport.

What is ‘excellent school sport’? Well, the department summarises this pretty exactly on our website: ‘our vision is to provide an inclusive and nurturing environment that inspires our pupils to be resilient and independent learners, who develop a lifelong passion for physical activity. Whitgift Sport challenges all students to embrace failure, pursue their ambitions whilst promoting tolerance, humility, and respect.’

Embrace failure? Talking to some First Form students with Mr Osborne at breaktime last week, we made the point that when more activities are opened up, they need (now more than ever) to try new things, things they don’t know if they will be any good at, and perhaps won’t. We don’t necessarily mean coping with losing when we say ‘embrace failure’ (though we do mean coping with losing): we mean risking doing something new, something you don’t know you can. My usual suggestion is Fives, because I happen to love the game, but it might be fencing or water polo, when you think you are ‘a cricketer’.

Or it might even mean beekeeping, or debating, or MUN. at a time when caution has understandably kept us in comfort zones, the life learning which goes with leaving your comfort zone has never been more important. Our message to Whitgiftians: get out of it, and risk failure.


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