4 February 2019

Head of Junior School

Personal best: An achievement in a race, competition or event that is better than anything you have achieved before.

This is what all sports people strive for. To do that little bit better than they did before. It may be in the gym while you train on your own or in a league with your teammates. It may be in a competition where you try to score a few points higher than last time, or on the track or in the pool where you are looking to be that one hundredth of a second quicker. Whatever the situation, that small improvement can make all the difference and make all of the hard work worthwhile.

Over the past three weeks, we have been privileged to watch 11,544 sports men and women from 206 countries compete in 308 events. We witnessed amazing performances, world records and individual greatness. We also saw the agony of defeat, with some falling just short of the mark they had aimed for.

From all of the events, only 308 people could be presented with a gold medal. So what is in it for the rest? For some, it is the opportunity to compete at the Olympics, for most it was the chance to compete at the Olympics and achieve results better than they ever had before, a personal best on the world's greatest stage.

I observed the interviews with athlete after athlete and was impressed with the pleasure they took in taking part. They may not have made a final or had just squeezed in but the fact they had achieved a personal best was what made it all worthwhile.

We will always remember the achievements of the greats. Usain Bolt with his triple gold medal (again), Michael Phelps winning his 23rd gold medal, Kyle Chambers in the 100m freestyle or Mo Farah in the 10,000m and the 5,000m. But what of the 11,000 other athletes who did not win? They did do their best and for many they did better then they ever had before.

On Wednesday 24 August, we had 240 boys from the Junior School strive for personal best in our Inter-House Athletics Carnival. The event was blessed with wonderful weather and once again organised brilliantly by Mr Whiston. Our top class grounds staff beautifully prepared the grounds and the scene was set for excellence.

The boys came to compete in the spirit of fun and sportsmanship. For them it was clearly not the result that mattered but the joy of competing and doing their best. For our youngest competitors from Pre-Primary, having a go for the first time was enough as the pleasure of the event was its own reward. We saw some wonderful performances and some new records set.

What stood out was the sheer joy the boys exuded in running, jumping and throwing and the enjoyment they had in seeing their friends do well. Cheering for classmates or winners was not reserved to Houses. All were encouraged and efforts celebrated. Our Inter-House event was a day to say, we did our best and we had fun doing it.

Mr John Stewart

Head of Junior School