According to the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS), “Classical Christian education nurtures the next generation of believers to live a life transformed by a deeper love of Christ, His universe, His people, and His way.”
Because we are His people, and God loves us, we are called to be good stewards of what he has given us–including our physical bodies. This is why Physical Education is an integral part of our curriculum at Summit Classical Academy; and beyond our PE curriculum, we endeavor to develop a robust and competitive Warrior Athletics program and we’re off to an incredible start!
The SCA Athletics Committee formed three 2022 summer sports clubs—basketball, soccer, and volleyball—and to begin our 2022-23 school year we hit the ground running (pun intended) by offering our students an opportunity to join a Running Club. Warriors committed to 3 practices a week, after school, for four weeks. Not only did we practice but we fixed our eyes on a goal—a local 5K (3.1 miles) in the community which many of our students, and their families, participated in. But, before I reveal the details of that momentous day, let’s briefly explore what it means to be a warrior.
What comes to mind when you think of a warrior? I envision gladiators in the coliseum, Navy Seals jumping out of planes, and steadfast mothers grocery shopping with a tantruming toddler!
A warrior is defined as a person who is engaged or experienced in warfare. I have never lived in a real war zone but given the painful realities that surround us and the personal suffering that we experience, it makes sense that we’re actually all warriors. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians, and us, commanding us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11) I guess a better question than the former,
since we are all warriors called by God, would be am I the warrior that God has called me to be? Are you? And are we enabling and equipping our children to live as warriors in every area of their lives?
Living with humility, integrity, joy, excellence, hope, courage, and love (hello, SCA Warriors’ Creed) is a good place to begin. However, these attributes don’t just manifest in us because we chant the creed or pray a prayer. The Christ-like qualities we seek and the warrior-armor we hope to put on, for ourselves and our children, is a beautiful and often uncomfortable process of becoming the kind of people God calls us to be.
At Summit Classical Academy we have a common goal of forging fierce warriors. We are not merely preparing children for the workforce, or college, or to get an athletic scholarship–although these are incredible and worthwhile goals. Our top priority is forging Bellatores Dei – Latin for God’s Warriors – because if we have forged the hearts, minds, souls and strength of our students in a way that enables them to be a warrior in any situation, in any career, with any group of people, anywhere on the planet–all for the Glory of God–then we have done Kingdom work.
Running for our physical health demands practice, repetition, perseverance, and if we’re getting real here—sometimes blood, sweat and actual tears! Running is a sport that requires little talent, but an incredible degree of tenacity, and fortitude. Warriors are forged in a similar manner which is why we are providing opportunities for our young warriors to develop a sound mind and a sound body. The Roman poet Juvenal coined the famous phrase, “Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano” – Latin for “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
Juvenal was right, we should pray, but we also need to take action and our running club warriors did just that. Every practice consisted of a warm up—lunges, squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, and other dynamic movements—followed by distance running, games to work on speed and agility, and finally, stretching. Our volunteer coaches (Coach Winterringer and Coach Lyon) saw remarkable improvements over the four weeks. Students met their distance goals for practice and most times would push beyond their goals and “go the extra mile” with their teammates. Warriors pushed through physical discomfort to complete laps and when they finished would stand along the course and cheer on others with high fives and words of encouragement. Endurance improved markedly for students, so much so that Summit’s PE teacher, Mrs. Wrapp noticed that running club participants had an edge during PE class.
Running may look easy but anyone who has done much of it can attest to the challenging nature of the sport. It’s monotonous, breathing can be a challenge, discomfort in the joints and muscles is guaranteed, and yet to truly transform you must stay on course and put one foot in front of the other. This sounds a little like life, doesn’t it?
Practice after practice, runners showed up. We may have changed the games up or the teams, but we set our minds on the prize and we ran. Our practices were repetitive, yet fun. They were uncomfortable, yet fruitful. There were some complaints, but there was also growth.
Race day came and nearly half of our warriors–and many parents–were able to participate in the Anthem Classic 5K. We had students as young as 6 years old and as old as 12 years old train for, run, and finish the 3.1 mile run. We were physically connected with God’s creation as our feet pounded pavement, gravel and dirt trails, our eyes caught the magnificence of the mountains in the distance and the very breath that He gave us fueled us with the oxygen we needed to start and finish the race. I think I could end here and we would well know the importance of training physically to achieve a goal and the warrior mindset that is needed to keep pushing but there is a cherry on top.
Our young warriors made their way to the starting line sporting their “Warrior Athletics” t-shirts and were the first out of the gate when the gun sounded. Some students sprinted, some jogged, some walked portions but every runner modeled impressive resilience and physical fortitude as they all finished the race. Notably, we had warriors earn 1st place in the “Male 9 and Under” division (as well as a 4th, 6th and 7th finish), 4th in the “Male 10-14” division, and 2nd and 3rd place in the “Female 10-14 division.” Students that finished in the top three earned medals and stood on the podium with a smile on their face and sweat on their brow.
As each member of our team finished, they immediately ran back to the course lining the street and cheered on every runner that approached the end of their race. Not only did we witness impressive times and strong performances , we got to see the healthy hearts and minds of our warriors on display.
After the dust settled and we came down off our runner’s high we heard, overwhelmingly, that parents were pleased with the running club, and moreover, our young warriors loved the challenge. Not only were our bodies well prepared for the task, but our minds were stronger, and our hearts were full.
At Summit Classical Academy we are dedicated to the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical lives of our students and our families. As a parent, I’m grateful for the day-to-day classical Christian approach in the classroom where Jesus’ name is above all names and He is the focus of all we do. As a Coach and fitness enthusiast, I find it refreshing that our school places a high value on the importance of physical health, sportsmanship, and competition.
God has made us all unique and we – adults and children alike – have talents and gifts that abound. But at our core, we are a people called to fight the good fight. We are a people called by God to be a good neighbor and love others as He first loved us. In a lot of situations that takes incredible courage and faith but if we have prepared, if we have put the work in and if we have prayed, God will strengthen us and bellatores dei will be transformed into His likeness.
Onward to a healthy mind in a healthy body, Warriors.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
Written by: Jessica Lyon