I know the sport of Cross Country is not for everyone, but I happen to love it. As a young bloke going through Primary and High School in the public schooling system, it was my ultimate goal to make it to State Cross Country. This meant placing at School, District and then Regional level. Having a future Olympian as a brother who regularly competed and placed at Nationals as a school boy added some extra incentive for me, which was probably a little unfair given the difference in the ability levels between us. However there’s nothing like some good old sibling rivalry to stir you up! I was usually good for making it to the Regional Carnival, but that is where my abilities maxed out. With the top four going on to State, I regularly placed outside the top ten, thus ending another failed mission to achieve my goal!

History repeated itself for nine long years until the glorious year of 1997. It was my final year of schooling and I was more determined than ever to achieve my goal and reach the illusive State Carnival. I trained long and hard and squeezed every ounce of potential I could in the lead up to Regionals which were being held at Mount Panorama. I’m pleased to say that on that frosty Bathurst morning in June, I ran the race of my life and finished in 4th place. My over enthusiastic fist pump said it all as I crossed the finish line; achieving legendary status in my own mind. After many failed attempts I had finally done it!

At last week’s King and Queen of the Mountain Cross Country Festival, we saw many of our students excel as they reaped the benefits of hard training. Some tried hard, some found it tough, and some simply enjoyed taking in the scenery as they cruised around the hilltop track. The results were varied, but what was evident were the students who tried their best.

At PCS we talk a lot about trying your best. Whether it is in the classroom, the sporting arena or somewhere inbetween, the characteristic that sets our students on a path to future success is their ability to get in and work hard when the circumstances get tough. We all face challenges that test us, but how well we respond to them is totally up to us. PCS is a training ground for our students to experience success, but more importantly, to learn to bounce back when they fail. To set ourselves up for future success, we must teach our students to fail well. Let’s not forget that it’s ok to hurt when you run hard, and it’s ok to be disappointed when an assessment didn’t turn out the way you intended. What is not ok, is giving up in those moments. PCS students are resilient, persistent and determined. They don’t give up.

God promises to be our source of strength, comfort, help, wisdom and peace. If He is for us, then who can be against us. Let’s view ourselves the way the Bible teaches us; precious, unique and made for a purpose. Do you believe it?

By the time you read this, the largest PCS Cross Country team ever will have competed at the CSSA State Carnival in Sydney. I know they will have run well, because PCS students don’t give up.

In case you’re wondering, after ten years of trying I finally competed at the State PSSA Cross Country Carnival in 1997. Was it the glorious crowning moment I had dreamed of all those years? I’m afraid not. I finished in 182nd place… ! I’d like to say that it was because I was sick, sustained an injury, or that I was tackled by a rogue spectator, however the reality was that after Regionals my training tailed off and I was underprepared. You get out what you put in, but that is a whole other story!

Have a great week everyone, and remember to fail well!

Glen