Sacred Heart School Sports
By Amanda Blackburn, Athletic Director
Monday, August 8th will mark the start of the beginning of fall practices for the 22-23 fall sports seasons. Please pray for our student athletes and coaches as they prepare to start a new year! This year’s fall athletic programs are HS & JH Soccer, HS & JH Volleyball, HS Girls Golf and Cross Country. Our student athletes in all programs have been working hard over the summer.
As Catholics and members of a Catholic school we choose our faith as our way of life.
We are set apart from many of the schools that we compete against. We hold ourselves to standards that put God first in all that we do.
We have a long history of successful programs at Sacred Heart School. Parishioners, alumni and families of current students are passionate about our athletic programs. I find myself constantly telling our students we are different, we choose to hold ourselves to different standards but what does this mean, what are we adding to our faith based athletic programs that sets us apart and what virtues are we instilling in our student athletes?
There is a misconception that athletes are strictly driven by the pursuit of achieving success in vain or for selfish reasons. At times it can be perceived as wasting time on something worldly. Our perspective in Catholic school athletics is not driven for selfish reasons, when pursued in the correct spirit athletics can be a true path to God.
While we train physically in the hopes of achieving personal and team success we are also in spiritual training. The virtues athletes gain are truly unique in spiritual growth through “team” and through “competition”
- Fortitude– this is one of St. Sebastian’s signature virtues and one of the four cardinal virtues. Overcoming challenges and working through hard things is a necessary ability of a successful athlete and a successful Christian. Fortitude is a choice made through the will of Christ, it is easy to give up or quit when you are an athlete in training, working through the temptation pays high athletically and spiritually.
- Self Discipline– this is very much tied to fortitude. Being great requires sticking to a training routine. This is also training us for spiritual life. Spiritual life requires a regular routine of prayer and worship.
- Penance– success in athletics doesn’t come without pain. “No pain, no gain” is a real thing! Athletes and Christian’s have to push through. Every time you push yourself through the game even though you think you physically can’t make it and every time you get up and go to mass instead of sleeping in are all penances that can be offered to God.
- Losing– this is always a tough one, when we have a competitive spirit and are driven by fortitude; we don’t like to lose. We perceive losing as failure. Dealing with it and processing it productively is an opportunity for growth; losing teaches us humility, charity and mortification. The biggest value of losing, perhaps, lies in its ability to teach us to mortify ourselves: to discipline our human desire to feel accomplished and successful, our need to be praised and admired. The idea of loving obscurity is a massive spiritual concept.
- Winning– to be a successful competitor you have to want to win! What does winning have to do with spiritual life? The answer lies with St. Paul: “I run so as to win” (1 Cor 9:24). No heavenly prizes are awarded for mere participation
- Humility– losing forces us to be humble. We teach our athletes to be humble and gracious even in defeat. Keeping your head up when losing is virtuous but you have gone to the next level if you can keep your head down when you win.
- Patience– this is a necessity in sports, life and spiritually. A lack of patience can lead to too much too fast and can yield unpleasant results for athletes like injuries and discouragement. We all experience setbacks, we must rely on patience and faith to power through.
- Stewardship of the body– our bodies are a vehicle for the soul. Healthy habits are an act of charity to ourselves; staying healthy is an act of gratitude to God.
We appreciate the opportunity to be part of something so great. As like minded individuals, leaders and coaches we work hard to not only train successful athletes but to train our athletes for a successful spiritual life.
St. Sebastian, patron of athletes, pray for us!
Source for article content- https://www.goodcatholic.com/st-sebastian-and-the-virtues-of-the-christian-athlete/