In Australian cultural narrative we are most probably all familiar with the concept of “tall poppy syndrome”. The term has been around for a long time and exists in one form or another in most countries across the world. The very idea being to cut someone back to size, bring them down to earth and/or keep them grounded. This “just don’t think you are better then you are” commentary regularly assumes a notion of luck or unfair advantage afforded to the subject. Although often justified by a thin veil of “objective criticism” what we know is this - it is usually motivated by a cluster of envy, low self-esteem, fear and resentment residing within the deliverer.
The thing is this - in sport you make your own luck and talent only gets you a little further. The rest is hard work, showing up time and time again and being resilient against obstacle after obstacle. The reality is that in order to be better we need benchmarks to aim for and people to push them, and for those athletes stretching the limits of their capacity to achieve new heights and aim for success, it often comes at great personal risk of retaliation.
The challenge I would like to issue to the Westminster community is this, can we be strong enough to support our tall poppies, when others would cut them down? Can we be bold enough to stamp out any words or behaviours from ourselves or others which is not in line with our values? Can the success of others spur us on to further success ourselves, recognising that there must always be someone first and then others will follow?
The position of leadership is not always easy but it is necessary and needs to be encouraged. Over the next few weeks we will be celebrating the achievements of some of our students and it is my hope that the community support will help our tall poppies grow.
Pushing his own performance limits, I’d like to acknowledge the efforts made in the pool by one of our boarders, Callum Smith (Year 11 Woollacott).
Callum swum PB's in both the 200 free and the 100 free in a recent competition. We wish him all the best as he in hunting down the National qualification times in the last National prep meet next weekend in Port Pirie.
Congratulations to Lucy Austin (Year 12 Clark) who has been selected in the State team for the upcoming U19 Netball National Championships. Lucy has been training hard with support and guidance by our Head Coach Marg Angove and the SASI program, her efforts being rewarded by inclusion into the ANL training squad where she will be competing in open age competition.
Our Congratulations to basketballer Hatti Cox (Year 10 Carter) who has been selected in the U18 State team for the upcoming National Championships. Hatti is competing regularly for Souths in the Premier League Competition.
After Will’s recent selection in the South Australian State Golf team and learning that this not the first time by far he has represented his state, I asked Will to share with us his journey in sport thus far and give us a little snapshot into his weekly life.
I’m sure you will agree that this rising star has achieved a lot in his career already, but he is by no means resting on his achievements anytime soon. Read on to see where Will is aiming for his future.
When did you start playing Golf?
I started playing golf at the age of six with my father and grandpa. I'm lucky enough to play at Royal Adelaide Golf Club and have had two golf coaches in my career. I got a handicap aged 10 (36) and in 2015 I went from 18 to 6 handicap. My handicap now is +2.
What was the first time you were chosen to represent your state and have you had any notable victories?
I first represented South Australia in 2013 in the boys under 13 SAPSASA golf team. More recently I was selected in the School Sports South Australia team in 2016 and 2017, and was captain in 2018 and now again in 2019. In 2017 I was part of the victorious South Australian team which won the Pacific Schools Game gold medal. It was the first time SA had won.
Have you ever played at senior level?
I've played Men's A1 Pennant (Simpson Cup) for Royal Adelaide since 2014. I was the youngest men's pennant player in the club's history at age 13.
What is your current ranking?
I am ranked 16 in Australia for under 18s. Individually my career highlights are; making the cut in the 2017 Australian Junior Amateur in Wollongong, making the cut in the 2018 Junior Amateur in Perth, and last year coming runner up in the Victorian Junior Open at Barwon Heads in a field of 144 golfers. This result led to me gaining a World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). I am 4200 in the world!
What does it mean to you to be selected as part of the South Australian state team?
Being part of South Australian teams means a lot to me because it allows me to compete at the highest level and test my game against other players. There are not many young people who play golf so I have been friends with the same group growing up and we all push ourselves against each other or pull together as part of a state team.
What are your hopes for the future?
In future I want to continue playing at a high level, represent South Australia in the men's State Team and win as many amateur tournaments as possible. I have regular lessons with my coach, weekly team practices with my club and usually go to the driving range midweek. On the weekend I play at least one full round and include some practice time too.
As we are quickly heading towards football season and our teams are already deep into preparations, one of our athletes is raising the bar of high performance receiving the call to step up into the league.
I sat down with Kaine to find out how his experience went and what he gained from this hard earnt opportunity.
When did you find out that you would be playing in the League team and how did you feel going into the match?
I was named in the reserves team on Thursday, before the coach called me and told me I would have the opportunity to play in the league side. I was really grateful and excited to have the chance to run out and get to play with such an experienced and talented group of players.
Have you ever played with the group before and were you nervous?
I’ve only trained with the group before and in the weeks prior. They have always made me feel really included and welcome at practice, but there are always a few nerves before any big matches.”
What did you take most out of the experience?
What stood out most to me was the professionalism and the culture.
Can you elaborate on the culture?
The group dynamic between both the reserve and league teams is very inclusive but demanding. The coaching staff are fantastic and we work hard but they really make me feel part of it. It’s still a big step up from U18s though. There are higher expectations especially on communication and concentration levels and also a higher intensity throughout training sessions.
What did you learn most from the experience?
I learnt to play my role in the team, with emphasis on being selfless and how much this can impact on a team and also individual compliance to a team structure. We focused on in-depth playing structure and game strategy so it was challenging, but I really learnt a lot from the experience.
If you were to have the chance to again, is there anything you would do differently next time?
I’d try to get more out of the experienced, older teammates, by talking to them and finding out what I need to do more to improve my game.
What do you think you can bring back to the Westminster team?
I’d like to bring back a level of professionalism to my game, and the idea of being selfless and playing for the team. Also to share some of the more advanced training techniques I learnt to help our team.
Finally, what are you looking forward to in the season ahead?
I’m really looking forward to playing with my friends, trying to help lead the team and make each other better players. I’m also really looking forward to Intercol and the chance to get out and play at home in front of my family and the school community.
I hope you enjoyed reading all about some of the wonderful things some of our student athletes and High Performance program members are doing. Let’s keep supporting our high performers to continue to strive for more.
If you are reading this thinking you should (or know someone who should) be part of the High Performance program, please contact me via Email.
Yours in High Performance,
Head of Sport Development and High Performance