Principal Mrs Maryanne Davis drew from major sporting events in her assembly presentation this week
to encourage our students to Walk the Talk.
We have been thinking this term about how to “walk the talk”, asking how our actions reflect our words. I have been challenging you to take a long hard look at yourself to see if you not only understand and can talk about the right way to do things, but also to ensure that your actions show the same thing.
The actions of some of our sportsmen and women over the last few weeks have made me wonder what we can learn from sport about those who did not walk the talk and those who did.
‘The Talk’ in sport
- We all know that sport is a great part of the lives of people around the world. Sport teaches us:
- Everyone plays by the rules and strives to do the right thing
- The spirit of good sportsmanship and honestly is more important than winning.
- As part of a team, you look to the good of the other team members and not to personal glory
- You look to the development and building up of players who are not as strong as you
- You get knocked down and you get up again: failure is not a disaster, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you give up or cheat in order to win.
This should be the talk we walk not only when we play any sport, but also in every aspect of our lives.
Steve Smith, ex-cricket captain
Steve Smith has been seen as the golden boy of cricket, with some calling him “the new Don Bradman”.
He has exceptional cricketing skills and has been promoted as a role model for young cricketers, someone who upholds the spirit of the game. A good, honest leader. Over the past few weeks these beliefs have been challenged.
As captain of the Australian cricket team he knew that some of his team members were planning to cheat and he did nothing about it. He became a typical example of a bystander: someone who does nothing when they see someone else doing the wrong thing.
So many have been hurt and disappointed because Smith did not have the moral courage to stand up for what is right. He allowed
cheating, the wrong thing, to happen.
Didn’t walk the talk
Smith acknowledged that he had not “walked the talk” and had brought the entire game of cricket, Australian cricket in particular, into disrepute. Former Australian cricket vice-captain, Adam Gilchrist, said he was “stunned, saddened and embarrassed”, by the incident, saying the Australian team was the ‘laughing stock of world sport”.
He added: “This is clearly against the laws of the game and we’ve just had our national captain and our national team admit they sat down and premeditated a way to cheat.”
Prime Minister Mr Turnbull said: “It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating. After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play.”
So Australian cricketers have shown us very clearly what it looks like when you DON’T walk the talk.
Is this true for all sportsmen and women in Australia?
A golden example
While saying it may seem clichéd, there is more to sport than taking home the gold. This was clearly demonstrated at the Commonwealth Games this week. One of the track-and-field races is the 10,000m.
A Ugandan athlete, Stelle Chesang, won the gold. Australia’s 10,000m trio – Cronulla’s Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern – finished unplaced in this very long, hard, hot track event.
Everyone would have expected the exhausted Aussie runners to immediately leave the track with the rest of the competitors, but instead they opted to stay. Why?
They stayed because the race was not over. There was one runner who was still running finish.
Lineo Chaka from Lesotho was coming in last place. She was more than five minutes behind the winner. She was more than three minutes behind the runner in front of her.
Lineo didn’t give up. She didn’t decide it wasn’t worth finishing … she continued running for her country.
Lineo was met at the finish line by the Australian women who waited to congratulate her on completing one of the most physically demanding events at the Commonwealth Games.
They stood as role models for the athletes from around the world in that moment.
Celia Sullohern, who finished fifth, said she was proud of the moment and proud of her sport.
Their exciting act of sportsmanship following the race didn’t go unnoticed. The crowd saw it. The media took photos and wrote it up.
Unlike the pictures of the Australian men’s cricketers, the images of the Australian women runners and the competitor from Lesotho are ones that define sportsmanship.
Like our cricketers, the actions of our Australian runners were reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and other large publications. However the report that interested me most was in the St George and Sutherland Leader. Andrew Parkinson wrote an article under the heading: “Cronulla’s Eloise Wellings and teammates show sportsmanship at Commonwealth Games”.
He said: “…no matter how you have done, whether you’ve won by an inch or lost by a mile, the way you conduct yourself in sport is still the most valuable currency.”
As the years pass, there is a good chance that none of them will be remembered for their performances on the track (* see their results below), but all of them will be remembered for the way in which they walked the talk.
All of them will stand as “gold medal” role models.
Will you walk the talk these holidays?
And so, as we finish the term, I wonder which of these two examples most closely reflect the way you have lived this term.
I want to encourage you to think about these two examples throughout the holidays.
When you are on social media or dealing with other girls in your year, will you do the wrong thing, will you act in a manner that is mean and puts others down, or will you be supportive not only of the high fliers but also of those who need support and affirmation?
Will you stand up for what you know to be “the right way”, or will you be a bystander and let the “wrong way” triumph?
These holidays I want you to walk the talk. It may take moral courage, but in the long run, you want others to see you as an Australian 10,000m runner rather than a member of Steve Smith’s cricket team.
Mrs Maryanne Davis, Principal
* Rio Olympics finalist Wellings (32:51.47) had to settle for 16th in a time of 32 minutes, 51.47 seconds. Sullohern delivered the middle-distance performance of her life, knocking more than 30 seconds off her personal best to clock 31:50.75 to finish sixth, while Hills (32:01.04) finished eighth. – St George and Sutherland Shire Leader
Image Credits: AAP ABC News website. The incredible act of sportsmanship has stuck out at the 2018 Commonwealth Games among Australia’s strong medal standing.
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