From the Principal
At last week’s assembly at the Senior School, I spoke to the students about a range of things, one of which was the Invictus Games. I was fairly confident that the students would have some awareness of the fact that they were being held in Australia, and that they were intended to provide support to returned servicemen and servicewomen of the participating nations. I think that students might have also known that Prince Harry played a key role in their establishment, and that he and his new wife, Meghan Markle, were here in Australia to promote the games.
My purpose in referencing this event was to remind our students, once again, of the abundant good that is in our world, and how we may, if we choose, be inspired by the actions of others. I suggested that from start to finish, these games are a great example of the triumph of the human spirit over all manner of adversities. Even the title of the games, ‘Invictus’, which is Latin for ‘unconquered’, provokes a bold or noble sentiment. The original poem of the same title by William Henley concludes with the wonderful lines, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” These words have become iconic in western literature.
Within the competition itself, I referred specifically to the wheelchair tennis where one competitor was seriously affected by the noise from a helicopter overhead. It became apparent that this sound triggered in him a PTSD reaction that was distressing for him and his loved ones. The response from his fellow competitors was to reach out in love and compassion to help him overcome the anxiety that had temporarily paralysed him. The spectators present along with the Invictus athletes finished up singing ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen, which was quite a remarkable thing to do.
There were many other examples of courage and love in these games, and I hope that our students might have been uplifted by what was displayed to all of us in the Invictus competition. Significantly, there was no national medal tally, and it was clear that these sports really were about the triumph of participating, and not about winning or losing.
Invictus 2018 in Sydney reminded all of us to embrace life and let our light shine.
Mr Peter Coffey