Someone asked me recently if YoungB had got what he wanted out of high school. By way of reply, I recounted YoungB’s Year 7 mantra of, “A good-looking chick on each arm, head prefect and rowing captain.” Lest you accuse him of utter sexism, I explain that that helped him to focus when one of his erstwhile mates, already a successful sportsman, turned on him and started being an utter pr*ck. YoungB wanted to return to that primary school, or perhaps to somewhere where that erstwhile mate was at school, and show him that, hey, being flatfooted and colourblind wasn’t the end of the world, after all, and that he, too, could achieve in a sporting arena AND be successful with girls.
It might have been spectacularly politically incorrect but I didn’t care. I told him that, if that worked for him, to go for it. I’d have to say that he certainly came close. He didn’t quite make the head prefect bit though he was a prefect; and he was rowing captain twice. Not bad work at all. So, yes, I think you could say that YoungB did get what he wanted out of high school. Mind you, he’s forgotten all about that mantra! He looked at me as if he thought I were making it up when I reminded him of it only the other day. Luckily for my credibility, Dr B was able to confirm it.
Did he get what WE wanted? Yes, I think he did. Those achievements were pleasing to us, too, and as I’ve said before, he had a string of other leadership roles throughout his high school years that assured us that he was not just having a good time; he was contributing to his community. The school has a human rights focus and a large multi-ethnic student body (Greeks form the single largest ethnic group and Asians – a bit generically, I know, because there are many folk in that broad sweep descriptor – come close behind) and he had friendships across the whole gamut of represented ethnic groups.
And what were some of things that were so good about those five years? They started with the transition day at the end of Year 7 and kept right on rolling through Year 8 orientation camp and trying out all those sports offered within the school. The Year 8 Head of the River rowing regatta was the first foray into the serious fun of the sport (the serious competition happens at other regattas). Year 9 camp was good, too, providing lots more leadership and sporting activities. There were many excellent teachers. Of course, there were some less than excellent teachers and some subjects that were not as useful as we’d hoped they might be; opinions regarding both of those sometimes changed as YoungB matured and was able to get over his immediate dislike and/or resistance. Life is like that. There were several significant celebrations for the school and it was great that YoungB was there to be part of them: the school’s centenary, an interstate exchange centenary, the rowing club centenary (and he was captain in that year), so he’s been fortunate enough to have had some special and exciting times and to have contributed to the school’s history.
Let’s not forget that out of high school came rowing as a lifestyle and cycling as something similar. We have all benefited from YoungB’s high school education!
Now? It’s on to university studies and all the thrill and excitement of that new lifestyle. Will he get what he wants there? As long as he puts in a good effort, I’m sure he will. Dr B keeps telling YoungB that uni is a lot of fun. That’s certainly not my memory of it and I think Dr B’s view is coloured by distance and the fact that, as a mature age student, he went in one door and stayed behind it for the years of his degree, in a manner of speaking. He was focused and from the outset had a clear goal. I didn’t. YoungB does not. But many of his friends will be attending uni, too, and he’ll bump into some old friends – and perhaps foes – as well.
If he meets up with that erstwhile mate who was such a pr*ck? I think YoungB will be secure enough about his own achievements that he won’t care a whit what that erstwhile mate might or might not think of him; if there’s no blip on your radar, you don’t take any notice. Or they might both look beyond all that adolescent insecurity and find that, actually, they can be mates again. Perhaps that’s one very valuable lesson that he’s learnt: some people are not worth expending effort and energy on but it’s OK to re-evaluate at any time if circumstances dictate. Isn’t that a good sort of philosophy for life in general?