Athletics as a School of Virtue

As Christians, we strive to do everything for the greater glory of God – that is the main reason we compete. But how exactly does competition give glory to God? At Holy Spirit Prep, our answer to this question is simple: through athletics, we teach our students to respond to hardship virtuously.

The ancient Greeks believed that prowess in sport and a healthy body was essential to the complete person. We build on this by adding the component of moral formation: we believe athletics holds a unique place in education because it presents students with non-academic situations in which they learn, develop, and practice the virtues.

Through endurance sports such as cross country, track and field, tennis, and swimming, students build virtues of perseverance and industriousness when they overcome mental and physical challenges to push themselves to improve. In our team sports such as soccer, football, volleyball, cheer, and basketball, students learn the importance of friendship, respect, and loyalty as they collaborate to achieve goals. And in the exceedingly precise and often frustrating sports of baseball, golf, and clay targets, students build the all-important virtues of humility and persistence.

At Holy Spirit Preparatory School, students learn orderliness as they balance sports with academics, family time, and their other obligations. They learn obedience when they submit to a coach and to the referees and judges who regulate their competitions. They learn modesty as we teach them to excel and win with grace and poise.

But while sports provide ample opportunity for character development, absent explicit direction in virtue, it is all too easy for pride and vainglory to fester in the pursuit of athletics.

That’s why at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, we are committed to providing direction in virtue through athletics – not only in the context of sports, but in the context of the whole person. Our greatest wish for our students is that they learn to love God with all their heart, following His will for their lives to their vocations and ultimately to their happiness in this life and the next. Virtue provides us with the roadmap to reach this goal.

Aristotle taught that virtue was essential to happiness—an idea fully developed by saints such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John Paul II. We see athletics as an indispensable part of our holistic approach to students’ education and formation at Holy Spirit Prep, and ultimately as a way to help them live their lives for the greater glory of God.


 

Kristina Wilhelm

Director of Athletics

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