27 Aug 2017
The Final Cut

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It’s been a few days now and the dust has had time to settle on the SG hockey expedition to Amsterdam. As a pre-season tour it ticked all the boxes with a strong fixture list, played in fair weather and not the excessive heat that had concerned the girls when we had discussed the tour back in the blazing Sherborne June. The players performed well and will have sharpened their skills, increased their fitness and learnt a lot from playing against some strong teams.

As Tour Leader, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Matthias and Miss Brown for their excellent support on this trip. Mrs Matthias worked tirelessly both before and during the tour. She was superb at locating and booking restaurants in which to eat, as well as calculating the best ways to get there and assessing the finances involved. Miss Brown’s knowledge and experience in the pastoral role is invaluable on such a trip when girls need a little TLC or a quiet word of support. She too was excellent in organising the group. She rolled her sleeves up and helped with all aspects from making packed lunches, washing shirts, providing first aid and even taking on the role of official match day photographer. Thank you to both of you for your assistance as team members and for your good humour throughout the trip.

Another important aim of any of our hockey tours is to ensure the girls are given the opportunity to learn more about our destinations - and this was no exception. The visits to the Van Gogh Museum and the canal cruise gave some insight into the culture and the history of Holland and Amsterdam. And in addition the group spent some time walking around the canals and streets, sampling much of what Amsterdam has to offer (albeit vicariously for some of the more dubious attractions).

We all hope that the girls returned with sharpened hockey skills, some sense of team spirit and a confidence that they are better prepared for the season ahead. But I also hope that they might be able to reflect more deeply on a trip with their friends and peers with whom they are able to share so much freedom and enjoyment of life.

At a time when tragic events seem to be on the increase, I felt that the visit to the Anne Frank Museum might have reminded the girls of their good fortune to be living in a society that has, in our time, been one that is liberal and accepting of everyone - irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. The museum is a testament to what happens when extremism and bigotry is allowed to take hold and at a time when “hate” is a word that is over-used and too casually thrown into conversation I hope the girls might have taken stock of how they view the world and realise that they have the chance to make a difference if they set their minds to it.

The story of Anne Frank is one of a bright, spirited girl who wanted to do so much with her life to oppose the tyranny and hatred that surrounded her. She was not able to do it while alive, but I hope that her story might stay with some of our party and they are able to realise that much of what concerns us in our day-to-day lives is of little consequence in comparison to the over-arching issues that are facing our society and how we live.

The end of the tour of Anne Frank’s house finishes with tributes from – among others - Emma Thompson. I hope some of the girls might heed this thought as we commence a new school year:

“All her would-haves are our possibilities”