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This week, we’ve got two stories of sporting success, one team and one individual. We had a fantastic response to our virtual Sports Day which, despite the rather gloomy weather, was enjoyed by all. We released details of the events last Friday, so that families could complete these over the weekend if they preferred and they certainly got the best of the weather.  

Our second news story is about the Prep School's Director of Sport,  Mrs Fletcher, and her quest to play representative hockey. It is a study in perseverance, which as all sporting fans know is a vital attribute to achieving success!  

Sports Day  

Yesterday was a first for us;  a virtual sports day involving all our pupils, who, after dressing in their house colours and following a live warm up session with Mrs Fletcher and Mr Mill, performed a series of events to test their skills and gain valuable house points.

Sports Day this year comprised of a set of eight challenges which were designed to test the Prep pupil's strength, speed, agility and endurance. The Speed Bounce was first up, requiring the children to get on their toes and use their arms to power each bounce over a small obstacle. Next came the Continuous Run; this was all about endurance, how long could our pupils run for without stopping? Some used their gardens and others local parks, making sure they were observing social distancing of course.  

Events three and four were Grab the Bag, a relay shuttle between three objects, and the Standing Long Jump.  We were very impressed with the pupils’ speed over the course of three markers, which were spread 5 metres apart, and they did brilliantly with their standing start jumps.  The Egg and Spoon Race followed, with the challenge to get from one 5 metre marker to another as many times as possible without dropping their eggs. Next up was the Overhead Football Throw and Throw & Catch, testing hand eye coordination and concentration. We finished our virtual Sports Day with the Plank, when we discovered just how well our core strength has held up during lockdown!  

At the end of each event, distances, repetitions and timings were recorded and bronze, silver or gold levels awarded, all of which will go towards valuable house points in a house competition that is still too close to call!   

Of course, it helps that our pupils have wonderful examples set by their coaching staff! Mrs Fletcher has spoken many times about the value of resilience and has her very own story to prove what a valuable attribute this is.

Mrs Fletcher's Hockey Journey

Mrs Fletcher fell in love with hockey at the age of eight, on the grass pitches at St Mary's, Melrose. She had an amazing coach called Mrs Hogg who inspired her love of the game. With dreams of playing for her country one day, Mrs Fletcher’s journey to representative hockey wasn’t a smooth one and is an object lesson in perseverance! She played school first team and club hockey and took part in District trials from age 15, finally making it into a District under 21s team at aged 19.  

Next came Mrs Fletcher’s first teaching job where, immersed in her role, and with no time to play, her hockey coaching career started. She quickly found that her ambitions were transferred to nurturing teams, with an emphasis on encouraging her pupils to work together towards a common goal and learning valuable skills. Fettes Prep teams have certainly brought great joy and reaching the IAPS National Finals for the first time in 2016 one of her most treasured coaching experiences.    

Then, last summer, a friend invited her to play in the Summer Slam. Although she had plenty to do to improve her fitness levels, she loved the camaraderie of being back in a team and joined the Grange Club where a few of her teammates were talking about Scottish Masters hockey. With nothing to lose, she dusted off her ambitions, worked incredibly hard and despite her nerves, went along to the trials. Once through the first round, confidence returned, and the rest is history! At the age of 44, Mrs Fletcher has been selected to play for Scotland for the first time. The twist to the tale is that, sadly, there won’t be a game this season, but, undaunted, she’s already back in training for next year's selection process.