To expand upon the notion of “Nobodycaresville”… While Hyde would not likely ever be confused with an athletic factory, we do enroll the occasional blue-chipper. And during a lifetime in and around prep schools, I have encountered scores of elite athletes. Perhaps the ones who concern me the most are the ones who believe they are enrolled solely, or even primarily, for the purpose of playing sports. I have even known some kids in this category to withdraw from school once their season of choice is completed. (Much to my annoyance, some have even done so with the blessing of the college coaches that have recruited them, thereby supporting their perception that they are enrolled only to play sports… perhaps another blog topic for another post.)
With our athletes, indeed with all our students at Hyde, I try to instill a simple rule that I have tried to follow since I graduated from college: Any employer of mine will be predisposed to want to hire me back should I someday desire to return.
My first college job was at a traditional boarding school. Not long after I arrived, I saw that my philosophical beliefs were at odds with many of the time-honored practices of the school. Not long after this discovery, I knew that my engagement at the school would be brief — by my choice, if not the school’s. Once I knew I would not be returning for a second year, it took a lot of resolve not to check-out. I committed myself to stay with it and do my best to honor both the letter and the spirit of my employment obligations.
During the last week of school, the headmaster called me into his office. Expecting a rash of criticism, I was surprised (and relieved!) when it dawned on me that he had called me into his office to take one last shot at convincing me to stay for another year. That final conversation made me feel good on a number of counts. It also showed me that the school’s and my beliefs may not have been as far apart as I had assumed. (Let’s just say that at 23 I didn’t know what I didn’t know!)
A shorter way to say all this can be done in four words: “Never burn your bridges.” So, if you’re an elite athlete at Hyde or any other school, be the kind of person that the school will be proud to have enrolled… long after your playing days are over.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld