November 23rd, 2011
For most of you here today, a life without sport is inconceivable. Most of you could no more imagine a school without sports than a school without reading. And yet, around the world there are children who do not enjoy the privilege of engaging in organized sports. There are parts of the world, including areas that our students have travelled to, where one of the most important gifts we can bring is a simple ball. Organizations such as Right to Play have recognized the importance of sport and play in enriching some of the resource-poor areas of the world. Sport is a privilege for which we must be thankful.
But I also want to suggest to you that sports, although they may appear to be physical contests or mere games, are an essential component in our society and in our school.
Some might suggest that sports forms an education of the body, but for anyone who has been part of an extra-curricular sport, they know it is much more than an education of the body. Sports give our students the opportunity to train their bodies, their minds, and their spirits. Ultimately, sports are part of our overall mission to nurture engaged citizens of the world.
Sports engage the mind, body and soul in acitivities, when well coached, lead to those values that we associate with good citizens. Individual sports, such as cross-country running, help our athletes to build not only bodily endurance, but resilience, determination, courage and self-discipline. Team sports, such as basketball, may help develop sport-specific skills like dribbling and shooting, but they also encourage key citizenship values such as loyalty, cooperation, courtesy, leadership and respect. Can you imagine a successful school or world where there is no courage, where there is no cooperation or respect? How much better would our world be if our citizens had the determination of a champion athlete?
The students and staff who you have seen up here were not merely engaged in physical contests. They were involved in preparing themselves for a life in which all of these values will be important to them. They spent early mornings and late days facing obstacles and overcoming them. In so doing, they have become better people, better citizens. And I think they had a lot of fun doing it.
So, as we share in the successes of our student athletes on the field and court, let us remember that we are privileged to be so engaged, and we are privileged to be led by such a fine body of committed coaches. Please join me in thanking all the coaches who helped our students to become even better citizens of the world. We should also extend a vote of thanks to all score keepers and referees. I would also like to express my thanks for the support of Mr. Jones, our Head, and the entire Board of Directors. Let me thank as well the work of Mr. Feeney, who unfailingly keeps our coaches and players focused on the real values of sport.
To our student athletes, congratulations in performing so well on the court and field. I love to come out and watch you play – you have entertained us, inspired us, and demonstrated to us what it means to be engaged citizens of the world.