Lost and Proud
On a hot and sunny Saturday, May 27th on the Lower Mainland, I was fortunate to cheer on our Debate team (at the Pacific Debating Championships in Surrey), Senior Tennis team (at the Provincial Championships in Vancouver), the Girls’ Rugby team (at the Provincial Championships in Abbotsford) and the Junior Boys’ Rugby team (at the Provincial Championships in Abbotsford).
I started the day at 9:00am with our debate squad. I was immediately impressed with their 15 minute pre-tournament walk from their hotel and the leadership from three of our seniors – Afyz, David, and Delaney – who did not need to attend this season finale but when asked by their teachers stepped up to the leadership challenge.
At 10:20am, I arrived at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford to watch the final game of our girls’ season. Since losing a close opening match in the ¼ finals in a heart-breaker 34-32, the senior players, including their captain, Imisi, wanted to not just play “the starters” but ensure that all members of the squad had a chance to play in the tournament. The decision may have led to two straight close losses but this group of athletes saw a higher purpose to their experience.
At 12:15pm, I arrived at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver to watch the bronze medal match at the Tennis Provincials against our friends from Shawnigan. We were the host school and Mrs McLean deserves full marks for her organization and leadership. It was the third time we played Shawnigan this season and despite our best efforts, we lost this showdown. Again, once it was clear that we were coming out on the wrong end of the score-line, the decision to put in our reserves was made. Alejandro and Antonio, two of our Student Executive Leaders, showed wonderful poise, commitment, and sportsmanship in our loss.
Back to Surrey for the 2:00pm start of the 3rd round of the Pacific Debate Championships where I was able to watch Emma, Marc, Delaney and David battle it out using British Parliamentary style debate. While I had to leave before the scores could be tallied, Mr. Bryant and Ms. MacInnis texted me the final results – two second place finishes in both the junior and senior events. There were some wins and a few more losses.
Final stop, 3:20pm kick off of the ¼ final of the Provincial Junior Boys’ Rugby match at Robert Bateman School in Abbotsford. It was well over 30C by this point and in the early stages of the match, the boys in their black jerseys were feeling the sun and they opposition: they were 23-10 down at the half. Some inspirational words from Mr. Smith, Mr. Griffiths and Mr. Langer led to a furious comeback and a tie score with 1 minute until full time. Robert Bateman scored with 45 seconds left giving them a daunting 7-point lead. Captain Jacob and his assistant Matt lifted the boys to a try on the final play. Down by 2 points, a conversation would take the match in the extra-time – the kick sailed wide of the upright – Brentwood loses 36-34.
As I drove back to Vancouver, I played back the day over and over again. All four teams had lost. They wanted to win yet lost. They tried to win yet lost. They prepared to win yet lost.
As I crested the Alex Fraser Bridge, it hit me. The scoreboard only tells a small part of this Saturday story. The outcome is no match to the journey: the travel, the comradery, the adversity, the laughter, the tears, and the connection. Brentwood will always compete to its best but never at the cost of the big picture – the building of lifelong memories and relationships. With the air conditioning blasting and Ed Sheeren cranked up, I was a proud Head of School.
The 300+ km odyssey showed me, once again, the magic of the Brentwood experience.
While we lost, we won.