Since coming to Carey, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see students involved in many diverse settings. My first meeting with a group of students was when introducing myself to the cast and crew of Spamalot in mid-January on their rehearsal camp. The energy, vibrancy, creativity and enthusiasm were electrifying, and it was terrific to see not only amazing teamwork and collaboration, but such a strong, connected community within the School.
I then went with the rowers to Penrith for the Sydney Regatta. It was again so impressive to see the students’ dedication, teamwork and commitment. The early mornings, patience in rigging up the boats and pushing their bodies to extreme levels of exhaustion showed the admirable resilience of both the group and the individuals. This, along with the strong relationships and positive influence the students were having upon each other, made for a formidable team.
Last Saturday, I also had the privilege of watching the First XI Cricket team play their second-last game of the season. In witnessing the team develop over the last few games, I have been so impressed with their grit and persistence as the matches were played with great intensity and pressure. The highlight however was the fine level of sportsmanship displayed by rowers and cricketers, and to my mind, that makes wins or loses irrelevant.
When I played for the Melbourne Cricket Club (although not a great player), I found it to be a terrific opportunity to meet people. I met numerous others from all walks of life, with such diverse backgrounds, and I also found myself mixing with people of all ages. One person in particular I will always remember was a man by the name of Clive Fairbairn. In his 70s, Clive had been a stalwart for the MCC and had many tales and stories of past legends and experiences. A few years ago the MCC put on a special dinner for Clive and many international cricketers were invited. This included Australian cricketer Paul Sheahan who gave Clive his own baggy green cap for his service and as a special thanks. I knew that Clive had once been great friends with the legendary bowler Keith Miller. I wrote a letter to Keith offering my services as a chauffeur to take him to the dinner and return him safely. Keith lived about an hour from Melbourne in Mount Eliza and as a keen admirer, I couldn’t help but offer him this ride as an opportunity to meet him. A few days later, the phone rang and Keith Miller declined my offer, explaining that many years ago he had a falling out with Clive and was very sorry he had never repaired their relationship. It was one of his great regrets. After a great chat he also reminded me that cricket was a game and a game only, and recalled the famous story of an altercation he once had with Bradman.
The tale was about bowling to Englishman Bill Edrich on a dangerously damp pitch at the Gabba in December 1946. Miller explained that Edrich had been awarded an early Distinguished Flying Cross in the war, which was the equivalent of winning a Victoria Cross. When a couple of Miller's quickest deliveries nearly decapitated Edrich, Miller slowed down. This was not well received by Bradman.
‘Bowl fast, Keith,’ Bradman said. 'They're harder to play when you bowl fast.'
Miller replied, ‘This man survived the war, Don. I'm not going to, ahem, kill him with a cricket ball.'
He tossed his skipper the ball. Miller raised the ire of Bradman by continuing to refuse to bowl fast and short. ‘I’d just fought a war with this bloke. I wasn’t going to take his head off.’ He bowled off cutters instead and took 7 for 60 in the first innings, which was also the greatest bowling performance of his career.
So far I have watched our cast and crew of Spamalot and cheered on the rowers and cricketers and have marvelled at their intensity and attitude to work hard, be fair and enjoy the game.
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Welfare