A life in the week of Gordon MacLelland, director of sport at Aysgarth School, Bedale in North Yorkshire
What a weekend of mixed emotions. Thrilled that our school won all seven of its rugby matches against local rivals Cundall Manor but tempered by England exiting the World Cup against Australia and Brendan Rodgers the Liverpool manager losing his job after the 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby. Did not make it into work today recovering from illness over the weekend. My colleagues feel it is due to the weekend’s sporting failures. But I only work until noon on Mondays so only missed half a day. I time at home, preparing for the week ahead ensuring all fixtures, catering and transport arrangements are set for a busy week of sport.
Greeted in the staff room this morning by one of my best and experienced rugby coaches announcing ‘it seems that all that was good we have handed away to the devil’ in response to the new rules of rugby at U11. We have embraced the new rules as a school and are coaching to get the best we can from them but there is an underlying feeling that we were producing better players and better match situations using the old rules. I am sure that this debate will rumble on. Lots of coaching to get my teeth into today - rugby sessions with the U8s, U10s and U13s. I love the fact I am able to work with so many different age groups.
Things are getting tight at the top of the staff fantasy rugby league for the World Cup. Holding on to top spot for the time being but am out of transfers until the knock out stages so hoping that my current team of players will be selected this week for their countries. Today has been a nightmare. Torrential rain overnight and continued rain during the morning leads to continued meetings with the groundsman and at 12.15pm we finally lose the battle with the rain and all matches have to be cancelled. This leads to a frantic run around contacting parents, changing the website, speaking to the catering team and letting staff know the changes to the programme. Am able to piece together a productive afternoon for all pupils using the sports hall, swimming pool, art room and performing arts centre. On days like these I am really grateful for decent facilities.
What a contrast to yesterday. Wake up to clear skies and forecast for sun later in the day. The U13, U11 and U9 cross country teams are heading off to Sedbergh School for a new event. Expectation is high, particularly for the U11 team who have some talented runners. I am not heading there but taking our U8 tag rugby team and netball team off to Terrington for a fixture this afternoon. It is the first time that some will have represented the school so there is a real sense of excitement amongst our year 3 boys and girls. What a success this proves to be. The U11 and U9 teams both return with silverware from the Sedbergh cross country. I am so fortunate to have Mr Smith at school who is not only the art teacher but is also in charge of cross country and U9 football. His enthusiasm is infectious and I am delighted for him. More importantly our U11 team, who we thought were strong, have six of the first 14 runners home and can now head to a national event on Sunday full of confidence. The U8 boys and girls also have a superb afternoon. The girls draw 1-1 at netball and we lose track of the boys’ score. But it probably ends 25 tries all. Both teams are superb with the ball and not so good in defence. It makes for a really fun experience. Just get back in time for the last 20 minutes of my 1st XV session which the head is kindly taking for me. I join in for the last five minutes of touch rugby. I am a little rusty but it’s a satisfying end to a busy day.
Friday morning is spent jumping between meetings and teaching commitments. I have a weekly meeting with our new head which is proving really valuable in covering any issues raised in the week either in school or externally in the world of sport. Today’s topics include concussion testing and the new timetable and how it may impact sport in the school in the future. I have three swimming lessons this morning mixed with my year 5 ICT teaching commitment looking at programming before heading out onto the paddock for a rugby session with our U11As followed by the 1st XV, both of whom have matches against Mowden tomorrow. Friday is my late night working until 8pm. I decide the U11 team looked jaded in the afternoon so take them for a free swim in the evening followed by watching the video of last week’s match with the 1st XV, identifying areas that we can improve on. Finally back home just after 8pm to flick between watching the All Blacks/Tonga game and the England/Estonia football match. Neither prove particularly inspiring.
Not a huge number of sporting fixtures today. The 1st XV and U11A teams are playing Mowden Hall and all of year 4 are involved in rugby matches against Cundall Manor. The rest of the school are involved in a sporting activity programme during the matches. There are victories for the 1st XV and U11A teams today which set me up nicely for a weekend at home watching yet more sport and seeing my own son Archie play on Sunday. Looking forward to it.
Get up early for school this morning to see the U13 and U11 cross country runners off as they head to Shrewsbury for a national cross country event. Once they leave my attention turns to home life. My son Archie is playing in a football match at lunch time and my daughter Pippa enjoys having some time with me. She gets very little in the rest of the week and we head out for a walk together. Archie’s football proves to be a waste of time as his side are far too strong but I am pleased that he is able to attack a little bit more as he normally saves his energy for the defensive side of the game. I’ve probably put all of this in the wrong order but it is my seventh wedding anniversary today as well which is being spent watching Archie and in the car travelling. My wife Jo is fantastic and doesn’t often kick up too much of a fuss with the amount of sport in our household. We have a lovely anniversary supper in the evening at home before Downton on the TV to round off the week. I wonder what next week will bring?
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF