The Last Word

By Aaron Roydhouse | Posted: Tuesday May 10, 2016

Look after your mates. This was an idea that was often a trademark in addresses from the ex-Deputy Rector of Otago Boys’, Dougal McGowan. 

These addresses to the school typically involved a fair amount of quality banter, and a touch of Otago Boys’ pride. And although these talks often came with a well justified tune up for the boys, suffice to say I was always frankly keen to hear them.

Looking after your mates from my perspective simply means to try and be a supportive empathetic friend. I believe this is significant because we might not see many of our mates after high school.

Upon returning to school and starting our second week of term 2 this message “looking after your mates” seemed more relevant than ever. Since this seems to be the part of the year that people first start to do what is easy, and let their standards slip. Our key values for this term are “courage and honour” and with this in mind I think many would agree with me that it helps to have your mates support when choosing to act honourably and do what is right, not what is easy. Considering this I would like to point out that it is often not easy to hole up in your room and finish an assignment. And telling your mate he’s a myth and not one of the lads is not exactly looking after him.

At Otago Boys’ the word “brotherhood” gets thrown around a lot, sometimes used in conjunction with the phrase, “Hoops Army till death." So naturally, looking after your mates extends to everyone from OBHS. The idea of looking after your mates doesn’t just mean shouting your best friend a juicie at the canteen, rather looking out for everyone in the school. Looking after your mates could manifest as anything from spotting someone on the bench, preventing your mate from acting stupid, or simply telling them to offer some better banter. Although at the end of the day everyone makes their own decisions. However, ask yourself this, is there really a good reason for not looking after your mates?

When I say this I am not trying to boast or get a laugh, but as some of you know, myself and a couple of other students learn Chinese as a subject at school. At times this has been rather difficult, especially after only picking it up in Year 11. Without the support from plenty of mates and also giving some support back it would have been a lot tougher to progress from saying more than “Hello” and “Sorry, my Chinese is really bad.” Continuing this learning is just a small example of how looking after your mates can help someone accomplish something meaningful. I hope that at least someone takes on board some of this information and makes an effort to look after their mates.

As per tradition I will finish on a quote. From Bob Marley, “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live for others, and you will live again.”