Sports Presentation evening July 2018
Good evening, everyone.
Thank you very much for coming to this year’s Sports Presentation Evening – it is good to see so many of you here this evening celebrating the best athletes LCHS has to offer.
This is also something new for me! I have never had the opportunity to come and speak at one of these events. I usually do the other academic ones but not this one. I don’t know why, perhaps my physique suggests I have never played a sport before, I don’t know.
However, I can tell you, unbelievable as it may seem, yes, I have played sports in the past to a half decent level. I can enjoy a go at most things. When I was your age, I was on the football team, rugby team, golf team, and the cross country team. I was never much good at athletics – but usually gave it a go – pretty much to make up the numbers!
But I don’t play so much now and to be honest, don’t follow much sport now – perhaps that’s just the stage of my life at the moment with other things filling that time: work, family, and so on.
However, I am glad that there is a separate Sports Presentation Evening for our students because to excel at a sport is different to excelling in an academic subject. I am not saying that it is harder or easier, just different.
You see, for you to find success at Mathematics or French or English or Geography you have to work very hard every day, day in and day out, but success in these areas is very personal. That success is yours and yours alone. If you get 100%, it’s because you have listened you have worked hard and you have put the time in.
However, to be successful at football or rugby for example, your success usually comes from the effort and dedication of the whole team. Not only that, but each member of your whole team has a different job to play in that. You have to rely on them, to trust them, and ultimately your success or failure can come as a result of someone else’s genius or mistake.
This is probably why the team spirit within sports is unique and very difficult to replicate outside of sport.
Nevertheless, it can be replicated. American Heptathlon gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee said:
‘The glory of sport comes from dedication and desire. Achieving success and glory in athletics has less to do with wins and losses than it does with learning how to prepare yourself, so that at the end of the day, whether on the track, in the office or in school, you know that there was nothing more that you could have done to reach your personal goal.’
So perhaps there are a lot of lesson that you can take from your field of expertise to help you every single day. That day to day effort and work helps you get where you want to be.
Sometimes it isn’t easy. Mohammed Ali once said:
‘I hated every minute of training. Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’
Don’t get me wrong – we can’t all find the legendary status of possibly the greatest boxer of all time, but what he reminds us is that wining and success, whether in a team, on the track or in the classroom does not happen by mistake. The most determined people who put the time in will find the most success in life.
Sometimes this effort is not easy, sometimes you know you are probably going to lose. This might be against a football team you know are great – all your best players are injured – you know the match isn’t going to be pretty. What then?
Arnold Palmer, a golfing legend, said:
‘Always make total effort. Even when the odds are against you.’
Usain Bolt said:
‘The difference between the possible and impossible is determination.’
Do you remember that person that gave up? No – neither does anyone else.
And you can take these lessons into everything. Have a goal, find out what your success is; then aim for it. We all have different things which motivate us. So figure out what it is and don’t let anything stand in your way.
I am going to finish off with one final quote. I don’t know who it is from this time, but it is certainly worth thinking about as you set yourself up for a challenge which comes your way:
‘Why do I succeed? I succeed because I am willing to do the things you are not. I will sacrifice; I am not shackled by fear, insecurity or doubt. I do feel those emotions – drink them in and swallow them into the blackness of hell. Learn from them, conquer them and use them to motivate you. I am motivated by accomplishment, not pride. Pride consumes the weak – eats them up when things don’t go well. If I fall – I will get up. If I am beaten – I will return. I will never stop getting better.’
Many congratulations to all of our prize winners this evening.