Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending ‘An Evening with Stuart Pearce’, one of the events that makeup Marlborough College’s Memorial Hall Festival. Without doubt, Stuart Pearce is one of the best speakers I have listened to. The former England international is reflective, insightful and incredibly honest. Nothing like you might imagine an ex-professional footballer to be. During the event these points particularly resonated:
The story that made the biggest impression on me was from mid 1995 when the then England manager, Terry Venables, telephoned him. El Tel told him that Graeme Le Saux would be his first-choice left back, perhaps hoping Pearce would decide to retire from international duty. Instead Pearce elected to continue to make himself available as a squad player; a 32 year old, 62 cap, former England captain. Le Saux would suffer the misfortune of breaking his ankle two months before Euro 96, however, this gave Pearce the opportunity to go on to become a great, paying off the hard work and humility of his decision.
The evening was fascinating. Not least because it was a chance for me to hear a childhood idol talk about events that I had seen from the outside. But also because Pearce was erudite and open. And I have not even mentioned his anecdotes about Brian Clough!
- Treat both adversity and success as learning opportunities.
- Do not fear failure. Using an example from his England career Pearce declared not putting yourself forward or taking a chance to be a bigger failing (this referenced his successful kick from the penalty mark against Spain in Euro 96 following the miss in the semi final of Italia 90 against Germany): “failure is staying on the halfway line and not taking a penalty when you know you are one of the top five penalty takers in the team.”
- Success breeds success. Until you have broken the glass ceiling and achieved real success you do not know what it takes to get there or how it feels to achieve it.
- Success is also about hard work. Pearce stated talent was somewhere between 5-20% responsible for success.
- While executing a game plan, playing well and winning is good it pales into comparison against long-term progress. Pearce gave the example of seeing Jordan Henderson’s development from England U21 captain to established senior international as something much more important than any quick win.
I’m trying to be a little more innovative in my posts, see Extended ideas.
By sex, I mean male or female*. Apologies if the title has been clickbait to potentially something very different.
Recently I have been thinking about sonographers and ultrasounds, specifically those undertaken in health authorities that allow pregnant women the chance to find out if their bump is a little boy or girl during the 20 week scan. While I am aware that such a practice always comes with the caveat that it is not 100% accurate, I wondered just how accurate it is. Does the sonographer keep a record of how many foetuses they correctly detail the sex of? Or are they just a point of prediction with no way of following up whether the information provided was correct? My thoughts are that they never actually find out whether they are right or wrong. Why would they unless they encounter the mother again?
I wonder how many parents have an extra surprise on the arrival of their little bundle of joy? And what is the training in identifying the sex of foetuses? I might guess they use still and moving library images from 20 week scans (and dare say it would be easy to find out the exact details of the training, but that’s not quite the point of this extended-idea). It would be a very interesting experience to be expecting a girl and then finding you are welcoming a little boy into the world, or vice versa.
My rather loose point is that it is sometimes very difficult to see how something one does actually turns out in the long run if there is no-one looking at outcomes much further down the line. Whether it’s the accuracy of determining sex of a foetus or anything else. For example, how do we actually know that anything a teacher does actually affects a pupil or class or year group? More importantly, what happens 5, 10, 20 years down the line? Do you produce “lifelong learners” or is it just a trendy thing to say? Longitudinal studies with regular follow ups can help identify trends or patterns, but are very much for the long-term. It seems to me too many people in education are concerned solely by the short-term. And don’t get me started on association football managers, the epitomy of short-termism! Seeing how things pan out isn’t necessarily the same as letting things drift, but perhaps this is the problem? More thinking (by me!) is required on this topic, but an interesting chain of thought nevertheless.
*Last term I was asked to present to my school’s Diversity Society on sex and gender. A fascinating area, but for me sex is biological – due to chromosomes and therefore primary and, to some extent, secondary sexual characteristics – whereas I believe gender is a social-construct and inherently subjective. However, chromosomal and developmental abnormalities is a topic to itself. As is gender and I am certainly open to interpretations that are non-binary. Both are perhaps best revisited in further detail in the future.