When we start out in our football life, each team member needs to know what the rules are, what he can do and what he can’t do, where the boundaries are. Then he needs to use all of his particular skills that God gave him to the benefit of the team. He needs to practice those skills to hone them and perfect them, but, at the same time, he will need to work on his weaknesses so that there is less chance for his weaknesses to be exploited by the opposition.
As he grows he needs to know the structure of the team and where he fits into that structure. He needs to know that if another team member gets caught out of structure or out of shape that he can go and help that team-mate.
We need to be a team because…….in the words of Helen Keller … ‘alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’.
Each team member needs to be able to take calculated risks, you won’t gain any rewards if you don’t take a risk. It’s no use sitting back and being all comfortable and not sending players forward, because if you do that you will invite the opposition to attack and you won’t win many games that way. You may not lose too many either, but at the end of the game you might say to yourself “What if”!
What if we had attacked a little more, maybe we could have won.
Conversely, if all you do is attack, then you leave your goal at the mercy of the opposition, you may lose.
So, as in life, there has to a balance between attack and defence, not too much of either, but just the right amount. The same as everything in life, there has to be balance.
How do we know when there is too much attack or too much defence, when to take risk or sit back? That’s called experience, the further you go in life and the more matches you play in football, the more experience you gain, therefore your decision making gets better. The more good decisions you make in a football match, the more likely you are to have a good match. When we are young, with no experience we all will make mistakes (that’s all a part of growing up).
And so, I say to my boys when they go onto the field, “Do your best”. Do your best because I know that there will be mistakes and that’s fine, I just want them to try hard.
But “do your best” is not just a throw-away line.
This season, in my role as Master in Charge of Football.
I have watched each and every team, whether it was just in training or in a match, and I often asked myself, ‘Are these boys doing their best”? Some were doing their best all of the time. All of them were doing their best some of the time. But I don’t think that all boys were doing their best all of the time. This is where we need to improve.
Our Year 12 boys will soon go out into the world and they’ll hope to get a good job or invent an app which will make them a Billionaire, and I hope that those of you who have played any sport at King’s (be it football, rugby, cricket, basketball, any of the team sports) have realised the importance of the lessons that you can and will have learned through taking part in sport.
The school teaches values, Compassion, Humility, Respect, Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility and Excellence. These are all valuable and appropriate to the game of football.
Our boys fought hard this year in every team, sometimes we struggled, sometimes we won with humility, but we always played responsibly with honesty and integrity and each team did their best.
It’s with great respect that I thank all of the boys, all of my coaches, all of the committee and volunteers for a job well done.