Sunday, March 25 will remain etched in the minds of many Australian sports lovers as one of those moments that challenges, and potentially changes, perspective. It was the day when the captain of our National cricket team, Steve Smith, Vice Captain David Warner and newcomer Cameron Bancroft were thrust into the limelight due to Cameron Bancroft being caught tampering with the ball in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over the South African Cricket team.
On the Monday staff briefing following the incident I spoke about things staff may wish to consider should this discussion come up in their Mentor Group. Over the weekend I had spent time ferrying my son to cricket games with the travel time spent engaged in long discussions about the actions of the three Australians. I knew he had taken the Steve Smith poster down from his wall and so I was keen to explore why.
It was an exploration I had with my son, and subsequently with many other Newington boys. More recently I even had the opportunity whilst interviewing some cricket mad grade 5 boys for entry to the College in 2020, to seek their thoughts on what the Australian cricketer’s motivation for cheating might have been. The responses were certainly varied, although the most common view was that the actions were due to an overbearing pressure to win.
We are blessed at Newington to have Ross Turner as the Director of Cricket. He ensures that coaches and boys understand that cricket is just a game, providing an opportunity for our boys to not only have fun, but to lead, to show integrity, to demonstrate good sportsmanship, and to win and lose with dignity. Ross often says that you learn more from a loss than a win, but do not be mistaken, he is a fiercely competitive individual who was an elite Cricketer. His exemplary modelling in approaching sport is founded in a desire to be competitive, complemented by an awareness that this should never be at any cost. He is uncompromising with his expectation of fair play and sportsmanship.
We may never know what happened in the Australian Cricket team’s dressing room that led to three people, who must love the game, to do what they did. We do know that at some point the sense of perspective was lost, the ability to control actions was no longer present and in the face of hardship rather than persevering the option was to cheat. Our Newington school motto, ‘In fide scientiam’, tells us “to your faith add knowledge”. This motto comes from the second epistle of Peter who adds further in his epistle that to knowledge we should add self-control, and to self-control we should add perseverance. We applaud success at Newington, but we also embrace the struggle, and as an extension of our motto invites, retain self-control and be willing to persevere.
Mr David Roberts
Head of Stanmore / Deputy Headmaster