By Tim Bowden, Head Master
Sport takes on different significance in different schools, and in the perspectives of different stakeholders. Sport can be an expression of the prestige of the school, through the quality of the facilities and the kit of the participants. Sport can be a proxy for the success of the school, whereby winning a sporting competition indicates that a school is superior to its competitors on a broader front. Sport can be a channel for the expression of school spirit, where the crowd of cheering supporters identify with something bigger than themselves. Sport can be an avenue to future careers for the elite, providing support and opening doors for glittering success in the years to come.
While there are varying degrees of validity to all these perspectives, I believe that they are peripheral to the purpose of sport at Trinity Grammar School. Here are the some of the principles that guide our sporting programme at Trinity:
From the beginning, Trinity has seen the importance of sport as a key element in our education programme, aiming to shape young men in mind, body and spirit. There are things that a young man needs to learn that will not be learned in the classroom. Many of these can be learned on the sporting field. For this reason, we are unrelenting in our expectation that all boys will be required to participate in the summer and winter seasons, commencing at an age-appropriate point and continuing all the way to the completion of Year 12.
2. Breadth of experience
School sport provides an opportunity for boys to broaden their experience by trying new and different things. We have seen accounts in the news of professional athletes whose long-term wellbeing has been compromised by an extended focus on one specific sport to the detriment of other interests and activities. We also recognise that in a world characterised by change, our boys are well-served by learning to be comfortable doing new and different things. In different sports, boys will connect with different friends, discover new opportunities, learn new skills, and, in the doing of it, shape a richer life. The diversity of sporting options that we provide is intended to give our young people this breadth of experience. This principle of broadening experience is the primary reason why boys, particularly in younger years, are required to do different sports in the summer and winter seasons rather than specialising.
Our third principle focusses on the importance of team sports. Invaluable life lessons regarding leadership, cooperation, group identity, and mutual encouragement are learned through team sports. The reality is that working with others towards a shared goal is one of the most valuable capacities that our boys can develop, being necessary for so many dimensions of adult life. In addition, team sports also involve competition. Competition is not always a good thing, and it ought not become the lens through which our boys learn to view life generally, but competition can be healthy and helpful. Competition spurs improvement, and provides a comparative measure of mastery. At Trinity, all boys are required to participate in at least one team sport per year in Years 7-10.
4. Focused effort
School sport provides yet another context in which boys can learn the relationships between having goals, perseverance and improvement. All the sports that we offer should help our boys to see these relationships in practice, with the outcome being their understanding that individual and team improvement and progress is always possible. This principle lies behind our expectation that all boys will be diligent and committed in the sporting programme, attending and participating whole-heartedly, and giving their best.
I would not expect to be able to cover the full significance and value of the academic programme of the School in one blog, nor do I expect that everything has been said above that could or should be said about sport. As I noted earlier, stakeholders will imbue sport at the School with different significance and meaning. However, it seems to me that we hold to the best traditions of the School when we affirm that sport at Trinity is a means, not an end. It is a servant, not a master. Sport at Trinity is not about producing scores of which we can be proud, but producing men of whom we can be proud.
Detur Gloria Soli Deo
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
At Trinity, we believe that sport and co-curricular activities are vital in supporting your son’s academic education and allowing him to pursue his passions, realise his potential and discover his life’s purpose. If you would like to learn more about the Trinity difference and our full range of co-curricular activities, download our Co-Curricular ebook.