“The Battle of Waterloo was won upon the playing fields of Eton”
I read that some where once, a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away…no I’m kidding, we’re not going to do that right now). I was very young, so I didn’t understand it immediately, but later in life I would realise the full value of what it meant – It meant, and still means, that education, in any form, whether it be with regards to intellect, ethics, morality, or even, as in this case, warfare, begins in the early stages of ones growth, as a person and as part of a society – that the lessons that we learn today, will serve us in good stead tomorrow, help us overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, conquer our fears and emerge victorious, and this is certainly something that residents who call the properties in The Meadows home, know well.
I’m not saying send your child to battle – Not entirely sure how good that would look on your “Parent CV”. Or on judgment day when you argue you case to St. Peter, the Pearly Gates glistening in the distance – somehow I don’t know if the “greater good” argument would work in this context. And I fully understand the difficulty of sending your child to Eton – besides being on the other side of the world, I hear the food is absolutely horrific. But perhaps the main question you should be asking yourself, is why on earth you would want to ship off your loved ones when world class educational institutions (with great, home grown South African food) exists in your back yard? Schools with a ferocity, a hunger to dominate the African, and indeed the global landscape of education, and not just in a “book-smart” sort of way; No, these are schools of the mind, body and spirit, where personal growth is held in great value, and the students that reside within their classrooms achieve something that very few of us glimpse within our educational upbringing – said personal growth being met through a liberally minded directive that promotes the wellbeing of all religions, a teaching staff of the highest of standards, and a sporting and extramural initiative that would make Waterloo look like a Nerf war (yeah I didn’t know what “Nerf” meant either until I saw those adds with kids shooting sponge darts at each other – as a fully matured adult, I have no shame in saying that I await pay-day so I can get a Nerf gun).
I believe I’ve highlighted the importance of the extra-curricular, sporting kinda side of things, in conjunction with a healthy mind – for the two no doubt complement each other in the most beautiful way. I believe the present problem that now faces us with teeth bared and claws unsheathed, is that of where to find such an academy – one that ensconces the principles of sporting victory and fair play. Hardly a problem - the beast’s teeth are made of rubber and his claws short and brittle – for The Glen stands out amongst the amenities near The Meadows Estate as a place of fierce competition, never content to rest upon their laurels.
Now, admittedly it is difficult for me to write about this particular institute – not because of grudges of old…okay fine, yes I hold a grudge against them, my team and I recently lost a football match to the men in green. However it must be said that the composure and quality in which the game was played was quite inspiring. The side-lines were abreast in supportive family and fans, and the intensity that was clear within every lime-shirted player was quite intimidating. This is, no doubt, a characteristic instilled and nurtured within every Glenwegian (that’s right, they have their own name, a new powerful race of sentient beings) through their comprehensive sporting and after-school program, brought to life upon top class facilities (the game we played was a Glenwegian home-ground affair, and good lord that pitch was exquisite, the floodlights dripping silver onto perfectly manicured green grass). With a strong emphasis on keeping alive its Scottish traditions, The Glen carries a thirst for victory in every aspect – I await our return game with baited breath.
But enough of my troubles and woe against superior foe. For it should be understood that the Glen, no doubt at the top of its game, does not stand unrivalled on the list that names the top schools of Pretoria east, for no democracy should ever be unchallenged. And who a more worthy than Hatfield Christian School. Such is the nature of their sporting facilities that I feel compelled to resort to popular modern slang and say “omg” (don’t worry I won’t). The effort that this high school as put into the training grounds upon which they breed the greats of tomorrow is incredible, reminiscent of the professional golf course of Silver Lakes. Visible from afar, one needs only to look into the well-guarded grounds, football fields, cricket nets, swimming pools and all, to understand why they sit as one of the top academies as developers of Olympic class athletes.
Yes, I’m a sports enthusiast, and it goes unsaid that I will always show bias in favour of those places that breed the kind of talent that puts our country on the map in global sports. However the aspect to appreciate the most in schools that value sports as high priority within their curriculums, is its contribution to academic greatness, for sports is more than just a collective word for “the games we play”. It is a lifestyle that teaches us far more than could ever be gained through the theory of a classroom. It brings out the very best in us. It challenges us to push ourselves harder, faster, further. And without challenge, there can be no change.