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Headmaster’s Holiday Blog 6 August 2014

August 6, 2014

I was privileged to attend the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow recently. I was able to see somealastair reid mar 14lowres rugby 7s, some hockey and some athletics whilst other family members also saw gymnastics. Along with many others I watched a lot of the Games on the television. As a Scot (courtesy of my Father’s birth and my schooling) it was a delight to experience the Glaswegian welcome! (I also have to admit that I was at school in Edinburgh in 1970 when the Games were first held there and later competed in a school athletics’ meet at Meadowbank Stadium on the then famous tartan track.)

I was born and brought up in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana) and have taught in India – all Commonwealth countries – and so it was especially exciting for me to see athletes from these countries in action. (I think the South African spectators in front of us at the hockey were somewhat surprised to hear my family and me vociferously supporting India, suitably decked in flags, as India swept to victory in the final hockey group game!) Whilst in some cases the competitors from over 70 nations and territories across the many events where not of world standard (although many were) it was good to see them compete, obtain national records and experience the camaraderie of a multi-sport competition. The joy of competing, sometimes from a background of adverse circumstances at home, was wonderful to see.

Although not at the same skill and fitness level, I am always delighted to see our young people at Ballard School compete in inter-school matches, festivals and tournaments. Especially pleasing are the ‘C’ and ‘D’ team matches where pupils who are not especially sporty have the chance to represent the School and be part of a team. The festivals are a highlight as these are intended to be opportunities for pupils to learn new sports, to hone skills and to enjoy playing new schools in a competitive but, primarily, learning environment. We do have some outstanding sportsmen and women here – hockey, rugby, tennis, sailing, swimming, water polo and horse riding all come to mind – but it is the seeming ‘lesser lights’ who often bring the greatest pleasure as their inclusion and success is all the more unexpected. As with the Commonwealth Games’ competitors from small countries or territories whose moment on the big stage is fleeting, it is all the more joyous to behold!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

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