Celebrating Sports at GHS…

At this year’s Sports Awards last Friday night, Mrs McHale, Head of Sport Performance, described our Sports Department as a family. It isn’t until you really think about this that you realise how much it rings true. Much like a family, the girls trust one another wholeheartedly, have each other’s backs both in and outside of the game and together they celebrate the highs and overcome the lows, regardless of what they may be.

The annual Sports Awards, similar to a family reunion, provides our pupils and staff the opportunity to come together to reflect on memories and successes while enjoying a delicious evening meal accompanied by a guest of honour. This year, GHS were delighted to welcome professional tennis coach and women in sport advocate, Judy Murray. Judy told the audience of her journey to become the sports person she is today. In a sport dominated by men, Judy had no other option than to be her own advocate, often overcoming several sexist situations. The moral of the story emphasised the importance of carving your own future, something she implored the girls to remember as they progress in life.

A highlight from the evening was a guessing game inspired by her two sons. The game involved giving the audience a fun childhood fact about Jamie and Andy, requiring them to guess an answer based on pure chance. The audience were up for the challenge, with everyone showing their competitive and determined side. Judy gifted the last pupil standing a book from the current Saatchi Gallery exhibition ‘In Focus: Women’s Sport through the Lens’; something we’re sure will be treasured dearly.

The evening finished with the awards; a moving time for many. For our Year 10 attendees, the evening was the first of many as they have their GHS sporting careers ahead of them, while for Upper Sixth the event marked their last year in a GHS kit. The awards presented included ‘most improved’ and ‘best player’, and a new addition ‘The Stone Award’ was an added legacy to Mrs Stone, our Executive Director of Sport who will sadly be retiring this summer after 25 years at GHS. Mrs Stone started as a pupil at GHS, but has since dedicated many years to building the thriving and strong Sports Department that we see today.

One parting piece of advice for the girls from Judy Murray was “why should you care about the advice of someone whose opinion you did not ask for” and in light of the challenges relating to gender, race and disability that we still see in the sport industry, this is a piece of advice that will speak to us all.