Athletics, Academics, Savagery, Softness
“Haven’t you noticed the effect that lifelong physical training, unaccompanied by any training in music and poetry, has on the mind, or the effect of the opposite, music and poetry without physical training?” — Republic, 410c
At Saint Constantine we value the soul, mind, and body. We care about enriching and sharpening the whole student. Plato also saw value in the mind’s connection with the movement of the body. He saw that focusing too much on physical training over academic development, or academia over physicality results in, “savagery in the one case and softness and overcultivation in the other” (Republic, 410d).
One of my middle school students summarized this idea quite beautifully: “Running is good for the sole!” He was spot on! Physical education and athletics are intended to empower students to develop overall healthy lifestyle skills and to grow physically in a safe environment. We ask them to practice teamwork and good sportsmanship as they strengthen their intrapersonal, athletic, and motor skills. Humans are designed to move and our athletics program should encourage them beyond the movement they are already practicing — break them out of their comfort zone! In the end, students should learn to respect each other and take ownership of their well-being, skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.
There are various ways to get bodies moving at Saint Constantine, one of which is through physical education and our expanding athletic program.
As the Director of Athletics, I ensure that my department works with our rigorous academic program to tune the strings of the mind and body so they are in perfect spiritual harmony. As their coach, I ask them to stretch, move, and expand their physical bounds just as their Great Books teachers ask them to academically. Just as Plato sharpens their mind, our athletic programs bring their bodies to that same standard.
I am excited to partner with the TSCS community to create that balanced education that Plato identifies and encourages us to pursue.
Soar high, Golden Eagles!