The School Rugby XV of 1963 has a place on the wall which holds all the family pictures- some going back to 1890. Its in-between my mother in the Oxford University tennis team of 1938,and my son’s Latymer Upper 1997/8 all conquering soccer side.. We had an up to date photo of the present family complete with children, partners and their children done only the other week.
But what of that XV all like me in their late 60s, most of the race run. What happened to them. Three died in their fifties. One working at the patent office, another an entrepreneur(who was married to my wife’s sister) and the third a pop musician.
Another never left his home town of Bournemouth and has become a successful artist. One went back to the States and became a marine biologist. The head boy worked I think for BOC. One of the boy wonders became a not very successful property developer,another a successful chef. Then there was the boy wonder who built up a serious City insurance furm..
The fly half, who was my best man had an erstwhile career as a copywriter but burnt out in his early thirties. The vice captain became a successful school and head master. Me a reasonably successful journalist. The pack leader, who died a thousand deaths in every game an accountant. Others became a head hunter and an IT consultant.
Four or five of us are still in contact through Old Boy events. Two or three of us are close friends. Given that at most only ten per cent of old boys keep in contact, this is a high proportion. Which maybe supports a theory of mine that those that enjoyed sporting success at school have fonder memories and therefore more reason to return.
So what is the moral of this? Does there have to be one? Middle class boys from middle class families, sent away to school to learn the right habits, repeating the experience, most sending their children to similar schools and the crocodile marching way into the sun set. At ten we are all promising and seventy we are all disappointed. But we are too hard on ourselves. Whatever Cassius says at least some of our fate is written in the stars. How bright they shone in 1963. And still they twinkle. If only on the wall.