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10 March 2023
In light of Liverpool’s 7-0 victory against Manchester United at the weekend, I spoke in Assembly on Monday about being a ‘good winner’. We saw, unfortunately, some very poor examples of teams being ‘bad winners’ at the World Cup before Christmas and, as cheerful and ecstatic as one may be when their team wins, it truly defines a person’s character if they can win graciously and congratulate the opposition rather than mocking them. I look to last week’s Test Match against New Zealand; despite a victory by the smallest of margins, both teams finished with big smiles on their faces and were happy to have taken part in such a brilliant game. Whenever Watford have a big result or a momentous victory, I will receive texts and messages from all sorts of people I have met over my life – in many circumstances it is now our only contact with each other – and I too will send a message when the same happens to their team. Always better to spread the love and goodwill rather than taking an opportunity to gloat and take pleasure in others’ disappointment.
In spite of this, a tough situation this week as, at the IAPS Ski Championships in Tonale, our Ski Team were drawn against my last school, Wetherby Prep, in the second round of the Team Parallel event. I had texts from colleagues, past and present and eagerly anticipated the result…my old colleague Rob Dean, texted intriguingly, ‘Good news for you Nick…’ and then followed up with a somewhat provocative, ‘…depending on where your loyalties lie…’ Georgie Thomas and Natalie Jones, our intrepid Team Beacon Ski Coaches, informed me that despite William F (Year 7) beating one of Wetherby’s best skiers we narrowly missed out on progression. I posted a sad face/tear emoji to Team Beacon and a ‘Good luck in the next round’ to my old colleagues…following up, of course with, ‘There’s always next year…’ In the end Wetherby came fourth out of 18 schools in this event so no disgrace at all for us to get knocked out by them at an early stage.
Fast forward a day and yesterday was the showcase Team Slalom Event. I could see from the Team Beacon’s WhatsApp group that even though we are making our debut in this competition, like Beacon Boys always seem to do, we were now starting to get the hang of this skiing competition business. The boys were flying down the slopes, full of confidence and really putting up a fantastic performance with incredible technique. Team Beacon’s messages seemed to be cautiously optimistic and sure enough, at the evening’s final medal presentation, Team Beacon managed second place overall and silver medals – the WhatsApp group was red hot and even though the parents and I were not at the event, you could feel the emotion and sense of achievement coming through the messages – so proud of our boys.
And whilst we were second on this occasion, the winners? Yes, you guessed it, Wetherby Prep. I texted Rob my congratulations and name checked the boys who I had known so well. He replied with a thumbs up emoji. I texted him back, ‘Next year…’
Have a great weekend,
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