There are moments that are once in a lifetime experiences. As a result, you cherish them dearly and move on to the next chapter with the knowledge that you got everything that you possibly could out of that time. That is how I felt after having played Australian Survivor back in 2016. After spending 37 days slogging it out on an island with absolutely nothing except a pot and a machete, I came home with scars, stories and smiles to last a lifetime.
I transitioned back into life as a Prince Alfred College English teacher and was able to share those moments not only with my students, but with all of Australia. I was content. But then I got the call to play again. This time as an All Star. Channel 10 was assembling a showdown between 24 players and to use their words, we were billed as ‘the best of the best’. I was flattered, excited, yet incredibly nervous.
I often share with my students that you should never back down from a challenge. I tell them every day that they need to make the most of any opportunity, be it a single English lesson or an entire boarding scholarship. So, it was time for me to walk the walk and head back to that island to give it another go.
Playing All Stars was a dream come true. Ever since I was a 12-year-old boy I dreamed of mastering TV’s greatest adventure. And while I didn’t walk away with the grand prize, I walked away with so much more. I have been able to push my body far beyond the limits I pushed it the first time. I was much more successful in the game both personally and strategically and most of all I showed my students that if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. I have returned home this time with more scars and stories and an even bigger smile that I can say I have played the world’s greatest game, for an unfathomable 65 days.
Being on a televised program which your whole school community can watch is unlike anything else I have experienced. I had moved on from my first season and I was worried that to go back and give it a second go would risk tainting the magic of my first go. However, the support from the staff, boys and their families was incredibly heart-warming, as they shared in the daily trials and tribulations which come from putting your body, and heart, on the line, in a very vulnerable way. I am grateful that I got a second chance for the boys to see that if something is important to you, then you can dedicate yourself to reaching that goal in new ways you hadn’t considered before.
Now, when I am on yard duty at recess and lunch, the boys enjoy tales of starting fire with my bare hands. They quietly reflect on my puzzle wins and the fact that it is possible to beat braun with brains. But most importantly, they now see that those once-in a-lifetime experiences actually do come around…sometimes even twice.
English Teacher PAC