Land of the Giants

I noticed, walking through HMV last Saturday, that you can now purchase a box-set of 'Land of the Giants'.

Land of the Giants graphic

I was so so excited!

It was one of my first TV memories from the late-1960s. Those readers who are aware of my stature my feel that this was something of a future portent!

The series was was a bit like Gulliver's Travels meets Star Trek and, for any American TV Sci-Fi aficionados, ran on Sunday afternoons on ITV from 1968-70. Set in the then distant future of 1983(!) it told of the adventures of the passengers and crew of a high speed transport spacecraft called the 'Spindrift'. On their journey from Los Angeles to London they get aught caught up in a strange space storm and crash land on a mysterious planet where everything is twelve times larger than it is on earth.

Land of the Giants still

I know that many days can for me sometimes feel like living on just such a planet!

However, I do feel that I have met some genuine 'giants' over the last few weeks. Both come from the world of Rugby Union, although they are separated by a playing generation and a hemisphere.

My 'One Good Deed...' Blog from last month reflected on the achievements of former student, Jonathan Joseph, who has this season emerged as one of the genuine superstars of English Rugby thought the Six Nations tournament.

Jonathan Joseph with Derek Peaple

What a pleasure it has been to watch him grow in stature...

That Blog also prefaced the planned visit to school by former All Blacks Captain, Zinzan Brooke.

Zinzan Brooke

Although a towering physical presence, it was in listening to him that the term 'a giant of the game' had real resonance - at so many different levels.

Firstly, in the quality of coaching advice he provided so willingly to our students - particularly Year 11s Cara Brincat and Carys Cox, who just two days earlier had been a key part of the Berkshire Girls Team that had become National Under 18 Age Group Champions.

Zinzan Brooke with Cara Brincat and Carys Cox

Secondly, in offering reflections on the lessons in life learnt through his involvement in sport. Winning and losing with equanimity and grace. And showing resilience when things don't go so well. Character.

Zinzan Brooke

Finally, in personifying the values associated with the Game. Rather like the Olympic and Paralympic Values which we have done so much to embed as part of our culture and ethos here at Park House, the Rugby Football Union has articulated its own Values. Some, unsurprisingly, overlap.


I wouldn't disagree. But Zinzan also emphasised friendship. Fellowship. As he put it, "it's a sport were you spend 80 minutes knocking lumps out of each other but make friends for life!"

Fantastic. As I've just said. A true giant of the game.

Zinzan Brooke

And as we enter final preparations for the exam season, I just wanted to conclude this week's musings with a further extension of the Rugby theme.

In good old 'Catchphrase' fashion, say what you see!




TCUP was of course the mantra of England's 2003 World Cup Winning Coach (and former Park House 'mature' student), Sir Clive Woodward.  

Click here to read or 2005 Personal Best Magazine coverage of Sir Clive's presentation at Prize Giving following his time with us as on the NVQ Football Coaching Programme...

Personal Best - Issue 5

Most famously - and gloriously - reflected in Jonny Wilkinson perfect execution of that drop-goal in the last minute of the Final, TCUP focuses on ensuring that well learnt routines from the training ground are also expertly adapted to the demands of competitive moment and that players therefore make informed choices in response to rapidly changing game-time situations.

For me, both as a Headteacher and Chief Examiner, it is also a perfect articulation  of my advice on what candidates need to do under the potential stress of exam conditions: stay calm, relevantly apply their knowledge and answer exactly the question in front of them. Not the question they hoped was there; prayed was there or that they had answered two weeks previously from another year as past paper revision exercise!

I doing so, metaphorically at least, I feel qualified to rub shoulders with giants...