Where are they now – Michael Ranger (SPC 1995-2000)
April 27, 2021
The College recently reconnected with sports physiotherapist Michael Ranger (SPC 1995-2000) who fondly remembers chicken burgers, Portello and a cream bun at the tuckshop and teacher Mr Peter Ryan’s sage advice of ‘measure twice, cut once’. Michael has many fond memories of his time at SPC and how it has prepared him for life.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Since finishing at SPC in 2000, life has taken me first to LaTrobe University in Melbourne to complete my undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy where I lived on campus at Menzies College before moving to Mackay in Queensland to start my professional career. From Mackay I remotely commenced my Graduate Certificate in Sports Physiotherapy before completing it and then my Masters in Sports Physiotherapy through LaTrobe University on my return to Melbourne in 2009. I then started doing some work with the Western Bulldogs AFL side and Williamstown VFL side whilst working out of Physio Plus Footscray, one the practices that one of my friends from university and I had opened under the Physio Plus Group banner along with a few practices in central Queensland.
Family life has been hectic but fun with my wife Renae and I now having four healthy and generally happy kids, Ruby 7, Grace 5, Charlie 4 and Jack 2. We moved from West Footscray in 2018 when our little house wasn’t perfect for accommodating a family of six to Torquay where Ruby and Grace are now at school at St Therese and the boys are getting used to coastal life.
Do you have family ties with SPC?
My younger brother David was school captain in 2006 but we were the first of our family to attend SPC with our parents going to school in Toowoomba, Qld.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
My fondest memories of my time at St Pat’s was the great passion for inter school sport whether that be cricket, football, cross country/athletics events or rowing. I tried my hand at as many sports as possible but wasn’t the perfect specimen for rowing seeing I’m so short and stocky but there is no doubt that support of athletes at SPC when at inter school events was a highlight.
A couple of times per term Mum would give me money for the tuck shop for lunch so getting a chicken burger with lettuce and mayonnaise and a Portello (and a cream bun if I was really lucky) really made me feel pretty special. To this day, seeing a bottle of Portello takes me straight back to the tuck shop.
On similar lines to the significant following of all sports at SPC, walking through the corridors and seeing class photos, team photos and headshots of prefects and people who have gone on to great things is a very memorable piece of my SPC experience.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Mr Peter Ryan was my technology teacher in my earlier SPC days and he will always be a teacher that prompts fond memories of my time at school. Mr Ryan was always positive and approachable as well as trying to instil in us the importance of doing a task or job well the first time. A lesson of Mr Ryan’s of ‘Measure twice, cut once’ has stuck with me and although I didn’t go on to a building or technical career I still feel today that lessons learned while in Mr Ryan’s classes come to the fore when chipping away at little projects at home or at work.
Mr Ryan also had the tough task of dealing with us in groups when we were at our most tempestuous, playing varying sports after school. He did a good job of managing our teams when there was such a big collection of characters, motivations as well as frustrations that at times reared their head when we were competing against other schools which without his influence could have very easily turned ugly.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
My SPC education has shaped my professional life in a big way. As has the education that I have constantly received at home from mum and dad. Without the melting pot of ideas from all of the teachers over the years and the back up and reinforcement of the best ones of those from mum and dad, I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in with my knowledge and drive.
Through conversations with a great number of people over the years who attended different schools throughout Australia, my opinion on the method of teaching at SPC that forced more active thinking and less spoon feeding lead to the way that I can critically think today. A good number of my friends who have attended exclusive private schools in Melbourne openly admit how difficult they found learning at university and beyond due to being taught specific content for high score outcomes rather than being taught processes that can assist learning in any situation. Whether consciously or not, process driven learning rather than specific content driven learning seemed to be a method used at SPC as well as at home which I feel is a big strength of my life learning story.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
My time spent as well as the relationships that I developed while at SPC have absolutely shaped my values and family life. My closest friends remain those that I formed while enjoying everything that SPC had to offer. I really value the way that spending time in an all boys learning environment allowed focus on the fostering of friendships, team culture and comradery without too much external perturbation.
Going through stages of life and many of the same things as my friends at around the same times has meant that our family lives have also happened close to simultaneously. This has made the experience of life easier through having like-minded people to bounce ideas off whatever we encounter. This has really only been possible through my time spent at SPC.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
The one message I would pass on to the students of today at SPC would be to not be afraid of mistakes, failure or losing. Learning how best to bounce back, work harder, pivot, rejig or approach a situation in a different way following a failure or a loss is really a key criteria for learning and therefore success.
Without access to the experience gained through failure, the feeling of reward for effort isn’t ever really developed. Following loss or hardship, the formulation of new plans and striving for the next big thing becomes driven by the desire to not let the same thing happen to you again. This to me is where true hard work can reward you and set you apart from those that are happy just coasting.