One of my enduring passions has been following the successes and failures of the Australian cricket team. Since the early 90’s I have been an avid cricket watcher (or, more accurately, a cricket listener, as most of my engagement with cricket has been through the commentary of Jim Maxwell, Kerry O’Keefe, Harsha Bhogle and Jonathan Agnew) and, as such, the passing of Shane Warne has given me reason to pause and reflect on his involvement in the game and his life outside cricket as well.
Nobody could argue with the fact that he was one of the greatest bowlers in the game. Shane Warne had a natural talent that set him aside from others, and his reputation gave him a psychological advantage over batters which he exploited to his advantage. Having a stand at the MCG named after S K Warne seems entirely appropriate.
But Warne retired from international cricket way back in January 2007. For the past fifteen years, however, he has continued to remain in the spotlight for simply being Shane Warne. Somehow, he moved from being just another sportsperson to becoming a celebrity. He claimed Chris Martin from Coldplay as a close friend and was engaged to Elizabeth Hurley for a season as well. Warne’s fame had nothing to do with cricket after a time, but more to do with him being Shane Warne.
Celebrities seem to inhabit a different world to the rest of us. We watch from a distance, imagining what it would be like to live in their world where everyone is famous for, in the end, simply being famous. They live their lives on another plane, being worshipped and adored as people who shine more brightly, live life more fully, and, in many cases, fail more spectacularly.
In many ways, the celebrities of our time are the modern equivalent of the Greek gods of Olympus. They, too, existed on a separate plane and kept people telling stories about them for centuries. Whether or not the stories were true probably didn’t matter. People were captivated by their exploits, their larger-than-life passions and, of course, their all-too-human-like frailties.
In time, however, the people of the ancient world tired of the stories of Olympus and its gods who were, in the end, flawed beings, driven by their overwhelming passions and desires. Like the celebrities of today, the Olympians were prone to excess, driven by oversized egos and self-belief. The contrast with the God who steps into history in the form of Jesus of Nazareth could not be starker. Jesus spent his time with people who were outcast rather than the rich and famous, pointing people to God rather than himself. He was the anti-celebrity in many ways – always turning the spotlight on God the father rather than on himself. He did not come to be served, but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many. And in doing so, he demonstrated that unlike the celebrities of our age he was, in fact, worthy of all praise and honour and glory.
Celebrities can be diverting and it can be fun to share stories about them. But the God who made the universe, who became human to redeem humanity, remains the only one worthy of our adoration and praise.
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a point in time assessment of literacy and numeracy skills. Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 participate in the annual tests in writing, reading, conventions of language (spelling, grammar, and punctuation) and numeracy. All NSW schools will sit NAPLAN online in 2022.
Our school will be participating in NAPLAN between 10 and 20 May 2022.
In preparation for NAPLAN, our school will also be participating in a practice test during Week 8 of Term 1. The practice test is a trial run and preparation activity for students to become familiar with the online interface for NAPLAN in May. It is not an assessment of student ability, and the tests will not be marked.
Excessive preparation for NAPLAN is not recommended. Students can use the public demonstration site to familiarise themselves with the types of questions and tools available in NAPLAN.
Dr James Pietsch