|Sunday,13 November 2005|
Chief guest 'A.R.L.' salutes words of wisdom of Thomian cricketer Michael Tissera
by Srian Obeyesekere
That the annual Royal college 'Colours Nite' cannot do without touching on fierce but friendly rivals S. Thomas' is significant. A binding 'Blue, Gold and Blue' and 'Blue, Black and Blue' relationship which of course is rooted to their cricketing rivalry.
This was starkly reflected when distinguished old boy A. R. L. Wijesekera, addressing Royalists young and old at Royal's 'Colours Nite 2004' on Friday night could not but resist dipping to the evoking words of Michael Tissera from the other camp.
The former S. Thomas' and All Ceylon cricket captain made the comments to current Sri Lanka cricket team of which he is the manager. Wijesekera hailed the comments made by Tissera to the Sri Lanka cricketers ... To have determination, courage, discipline and stamina to withstand challenges at international level as much as it was a great honour to represent one's country.
Paying a glowing tribute to that doyen-Tissera, who dazzled in his day both with the bat and in leading from the front as captain at S. Thomas' and the national team, chief guest Wijesekera drove home the important message for today's Royalists to take a leaf from Tissera's words.
"Unfortunately he (Tissera) is from the other camp", remarked Wijesekera, himself a famous old Royalist with a tinge of regret. A former champion badminton player at school and national level in the 1950's, Wijesekera further extolled young Royalists of Michael Tissera's value to the sports world of Sri Lanka saying, "I couldn't agree more with his (Tissera's) recipe. I hope the current stars who receive their awards will appreciate these sentiments".
Talent was no substitute to hard work, one could not depend on talent alone. "It is a hard road to get to the top, but it is a much harder road to get to the top and stay at the top", Wijesekera added. He pointed out that the bottom line of Tissera's words were relevant at school and national level to succeed.
Perhaps, the cricket related leaf from a famous Old Thomian wexed eloquent by a famous Old Royalist manifesting the strong bond of cricketing ties between Royal and S. Thomas' cannot find better root than in the poetic words of Major H. L. Reed, an ex-Royal pillar inscribed in the school's magazine issued to mark this occasion under the title, 'Lines on the Royal-Thomian match' excerpts of which read ... 'No field of blood is that you see: no flashing sword or perilous lance; but cricket has its chivalry; that age and fellowship enhance; no more, had old romance? "So let is be, let our two schools in friendly, annual strife engage".
Wijesekera, who has been professionally in the anti-drugs drive both at national level and with the United Nations, struck a serious note as to the need to eradicate the drug menace in sports which he emphasised had no place for athletes who sought to excel through the use of steroids. Cheating in sports could never be tolerated. The rule had to be necessarily enforced.
The chief guest also dwelt on what he called 'the unsatisfactory situation in standards of achievement at school and national level where there was a disparity. This was mainly due to private tuition interfering with sports practices.
Strickingly, today 500,000 children sit the GCE (O.L.) Examination of which 250,000 pass out from which number only 160,000 make it to the Advanced Level. Sadly, only 12,000 can enter the University which is only 2 per cent of the total number.
Children should be encouraged to pursue sports at both school and national level. Children should have the facilities to pursue their studies and sports at the same time. The qualifying level of marks and colours could go hand in hand in relation to such special cases.
Royal Principal H. A. U. Gunasekara saw this important occasion as an appropriate forum to compare standards achieved then and now at college and national level. He regretted the delay in making colours awards. It was felt that it was unfair by the 2004 recipients to have the 2005 awards also simultaneously.
Produced by Lake House