We had just finished, at the Court of Honour, talking about the team for the inter-troop gala next week. Archie ended the meeting by reminding us how concerned B.P had been about Honour. “After all”, he said, “Our main job here as a Court of Honour is to guard the Honour of the Troop.” We were to remember those words later.
It had been a great gala. We were two points ahead as it came to the last race – the open freestyle relay. P.L Chris, our captain, had swum the first leg, and we had a metre lead - the second swimmer maintained it. The third swimmer seems to have done well – as I dived off as fourth swimmer we seemed to be more than two metres ahead, and yes, I managed to hold that lead.
We had won the race, and the gala.
I looked around as I climbed out the pool and I saw Chris talking to the finish judges. The troop members were excitedly shouting their heads off. Imagine our shock when the announcer gave the results. We had been disqualified. We had not won. We had come second in the gala as a result. Was there ever a troop so deflated and sad?
But there was another greater shock. The story was that Chris had asked the judges to disqualify us; they had apparently not seen our third swimmer dive in too early– but Chris had.
The next week was not great for Chris. We older guys soon forgot the issue, and got on with life – but a number of the others were pretty fed up. They wouldn’t even greet or talk to Chris at school – or outside. Some had decided to boycott the Troop meeting on Friday, and there was even talk of some Scouts transferring to another Troop.
Archie was of course aware of the problem – we wondered how he would deal with it.
We later learned that he had phoned all the angry Scouts at home and asked them to please be sure to come to our next Scout parade. It was a quieter than usual start to the evening with no games played before 7.00pm as usual. The TL called for the Troop to fall in, Archie came on parade, and asked us all to sit down. He asked us all to make the Scout sign where we sat. He said, “Do you remember when you first made your promise?” And he seemed to be looking at us eye to eye. “You promised me On Your Honour.” “If there is anyone here who does not believe we are a much better Troop tonight than we were last week, I am here to tell you that you are wrong. We may not be the best Troop at swimming this year – but we are men of honour. Three cheers for a PL who knows what honour means.”
That did it. We were a Troop together again.