Sport has always been a large part of school life over the years. Going back to the 50’s and 60’s my father was a pupil at Fyling Hall and could always recall some of the lessons he endured rather than enjoyed! It therefore, seemed strange at first that he was so intent that I should go to the school from the age of 5 right through to 18. My dad was never really one for the classroom, he would have been the first to admit that, but he always referred to Fyling Hall as a school which made him stand on his own two feet and think for himself. He would often talk about some of the rugby matches and games lessons he had taken part in or rather missed! Sadly after a long illness he passed away in December 2020. Many of the friends he made at Fyling Hall have been in touch with me to retell stories of days gone by and of the fond memories they made whilst at school.
2020 has proved to be a difficult and challenging time for many of us. It seems a distant memory that I stood just over 12 months ago in the middle of a packed theme park in Florida whilst a small virus was making its way slowly around the globe. The effect it has had on grass roots sport has been devastating for many local clubs and teams. The instigation of online teaching has helped life to continue as much as possible, but for the games department it has been a difficult 9 months, which looks set to continue for sometime.
We are fortunate that the school now has far more facilities available to use than back then, but one element that we have been unable to recreate due to Covid-19 is fixtures and what they add to a child’s time at school. Playing in a team particularly a rugby team brings a togetherness that cannot be replicated in any other scenario, certainly not a digitally created one. Just as my father took part in fixtures back in the 60’s, it creates the same values today, such as resilience, determination, courage, decision making and empathy. You learn to value the contribution your teammates make towards a common goal and most importantly a commitment to each other, that you will not quit, because you are in this together, something which has become very uncommon in the “cancel culture”. I now understand why my Dad was so intent that my sister and I both went to Fyling Hall.
I am disappointed for the current crop of senior pupils as they will not get to experience playing for the school in their final year, especially as 2020/21 would have been the year where we were very competitive. Being a member of the 1st Team either hockey or rugby is something which a pupil can be proud of, but also the memories they would have made last a lifetime and sadly for some, this will no longer be possible. But hopefully the tide is now turning and that in the not too distant future we will be able to all take part once again in sports. Sport should remain a large part of school life.
Marcus Coates, Head of Games