THE BIG PICTURE: Orange High's passion for Astley Cup is infectious

FOR Orange High School, the past six years has made a world of difference.

Walking into Orange High’s Astley Cup assembly on Wednesday I expected little more than the droll attempt at inspiration I went through year after year before graduating in 2008.

How wrong I was.

Bathed in black and gold, with students draped in bumblebee insignia, the hall was buzzing.

Orange High’s school captains led the assembly and urged their peers to support the school’s bid to regain the cup after seven years without it, all while a drum and keyboard heavy version of the Barmy Army’s classic ‘We are the Army’ reverberated through the hall.

Put simply it was a pep rally, and told me one thing - the students care now.

During my time at Orange High, we didn’t.

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Astley Cup was little more to us than a couple of days off, in fact many considered it an overall victory if we won the rugby league (which rarely happened during my tenure).

To put it in perspective, I had to look up how many Astley Cups Orange High won in my time because I thought it was zero - in fact, we won three.

Things have changed over the past six years.

Now, a drum core will lead teams into battle while the new cheer squad leads the crowd. 

The Orange High Barmy Army has taken a page from its namesake’s book, writing chants and songs to inspire its players, who train harder than ever.

Students are expected to support, and competitors are expected to win.

The hoopla is infectious, and I wish it was evident when I was a student - those involved in restoring the school’s pride deserve to be applauded.

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