A Vision for Athletics

From PCS Athletic Director, Anthony Davis

What made you want to coach students?  Why do you do what you do?

As a child I was a marginal athlete, but along the way, I had opportunities to be exposed to some phenomenal athletes, coaches, and programs. I believe that there are not many things more exciting than the thrill of athletic competition and the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than one’s self! I was fortunate to have played baseball, football, basketball, and tennis competitively. When I was introduced to coaching, it became an instant passion, and I’ve been blessed to do this for the past twenty years. I enjoy the teaching aspect and the joy of seeing young people overcome self-imposed obstacles by realizing success in the simplest of areas—hitting a ball, making an off-hand layup, kicking a soccer ball into the goal, etc.

What is your overall vision for sports at PCS?

As the Athletic Director for Providence Classical School, my vision is to provide an inclusive athletic program that has a variety of sports offerings for both girls and boys in grades 5-12, which will allow students to have a choice to pursue activities that they enjoy and/or may just be curious to try. Equally important is that our programs will glorify God by fostering attitudes of commitment, sacrifice, and hard-work. One other objective will be to expand our sports development into our Grammar School through both our Physical Education program and by providing sport-specific fundamental instruction to that age group.

Being a classical and Christian school means that we have the trivium as our structure. At the Grammar level, students are introduced to the fundamentals of education through consistent training. At the Logic level, those fundamental concepts are formed into logical combinations and sequences. Then at the Rhetoric level, those logical combinations of concepts provide the base by which truth and understanding can be debated and discussed with well-thought-out arguments. All of these things take place under the fundamental knowledge that all truth is God’s truth.

I believe that this lesser-known method of education is exactly how athletes have been prepared for competition for centuries. As a coach, the first level of success comes in the form of teaching the basic understanding of the rules and skills necessary to play a sport, whether in a team or individual setting. Next, that fundamental knowledge is formed into a deeper understanding of how to approach the game/sport in a meaningful and productive way. Lastly, once those concepts are grasped, athletes engage in the activity in a seamless and beautiful way that demonstrates mastery!

Providence has been blessed with a great deal of success in athletics, especially considering the size and relatively low cost of our school.

Tell us about the array of sports offered at PCS and specific accomplishments in our sports.

At our Upper School level (Grades 9-12), we compete in the Texas Association of Private & Parochial Schools (TAPPS) as a 3A school offering cross country, volleyball, basketball, golf, tennis, track, hopefully baseball, and now swimming. At the Middle School level (Grades 5-8), we are members of the Houston Area Private Schools (HAPS) league offering all the same sports except for swimming. Both associations provide leadership, support and guidance to athletic programs for their member schools.

Providence has been blessed with a great deal of success in athletics, especially considering the size and relatively low cost of our school. Highlights of our teams’ accomplishments in just the past few years include:

Cross Country
Varsity Girls – 2nd at 2018 State Championship; 3rd at 2019 State Championship
Varsity Boys – 3rd at 2019 State Championship
Middle School Girls – 4th at 2019 District Championship
Middle School Boys – 2018 & 2019 District Champions
Volleyball
Middle School Girls – 2nd at 2018 Division I District; 3rd at 2019 Division I District
Basketball
Varsity Boys – Advanced to the Sweet 16 in State by winning both District and Area titles
Middle School Boys – 2nd at Division II District Championship
Swimming
Varsity student placed top 10 in Girls 50- and 100-meter events at State Championship
Golf
Varsity Boys – 3rd at State Championship
Middle School Girls – 2nd at District Championship
Tennis
Girls – 2nd at State Championship 2017, 2018, & 2019
Track
Varsity Girls – One medalist at State Championship
Varsity Boys – Two medalists at State Championship

Can you tell us more about the new Varsity Swim program?

With last year’s achievements of our lone 9th grader, who finished in the top 10 in the State Championship, and the ensuing interest that was generated, we are extremely excited to offer a swimming team this upcoming season. We have around 20 upper school students interested in the program and have been blessed to enlist the talents of two coaches with incredible swimming backgrounds. There is a genuine excitement on campus, and I am thrilled that we can bring competitive swimming to PCS!

As an institution, we are committed to family.

What are the advantages to playing sports at PCS compared to club sports or other outside organizations?

There are many positives to participating in sports at PCS. First of all, our students have more opportunity to play. Unlike public schools where a typical enrollment in Grades 9-12 can be in the thousands, our enrollment is such that our students can participate in a variety of sports and other extra-curricular activities, while simultaneously pursuing a rigorous academic schedule. By offering both Middle and Upper School sports, our students have the added benefit of “growing up” in our programs, receiving fundamental instruction at the Middle School level that prepares them for Varsity sports. At PCS, we provide individual skill development that gives the students an opportunity to work with coaches to enhance their skills and knowledge base. This personalized attention allows strong bonds to form between athletes and coaches alike!

Above all of this, we are a Christian school. We hire Christian coaches, and we work diligently to build and display strong Christian character, to disciple our athletes, and to encourage them to pursue whatever they choose to do with excellence as unto the Lord! As an institution we are committed to family. There are no athletic activities on Sundays, and we have truncated practice times on Wednesdays to provide for family time, weekly Bible-Study, and church participation.

Those who play multiple sports are more disciplined, have a more committed approach to their athletic pursuits, and are successful in the classroom.

Do you recommend that students play multiple sports throughout the year?

As I mentioned earlier, as an adolescent I played multiple sports. Likewise, I have engaged in countless conversations regarding this subject. A body of emerging research suggests that playing multiple sports can help students avoid overuse injuries and sport burnout, develop better athletic, mental, and life skills, and gain confidence as both athletes and students. In fact, 30 of the 32 first-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft were multisport athletes.

In my personal experience, I’ve seen students specialize in their sport and go on to play professionally. I’ve also seen very promising student-athletes burn out from frustration and lose interest in their one sport. I think parents should work with their individual students and coaches to determine the best course of action for their particular situation.

However, to the question of whether athletes should play multiple sports at PCS, my “selfish” answer would be a resounding, “YES!” Because of the size of our school, we rely on our students to participate in multiple sports. I can say that those who do play multiple sports are more disciplined, have a more committed approach to their athletic pursuits, and are successful in the classroom.

We all know that encouragement goes a long way with student athletes. What does that look like at PCS?

We are blessed at PCS to have some great kids and families! In addition to having some excellent athletes, our kids are extremely intelligent, have invested in our mission, and sacrifice their time, their bodies, and their heart to be a part of our athletic programs. Our coaches reflect this commitment back to our students and families.

This year, we are excited to introduce the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) program to our school. Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a national non-profit organization with the mission of creating a positive, character-building youth sports environment that results in “Better Athletes, Better People.” Through this partnership, PCA will provide their time-tested program of success to both our student-athletes and our coaches in two separate workshops, with content targeted to those specific audiences. The goal of this will be to generate a genuine emphasis on sportsmanship and character development.

We should always seek to play with excellence, and the scoreboard is one measure of that. But winning is not our only goal at PCS. We also seek to develop godly character and discipline in our athletes.

What do you see as the Christian perspective on winning? How can Paladins “win well” and show hospitality toward opposing teams?

In the words of the late, great John Wooden, “success comes from knowing you have done your best.” In doing our best, we honor and glorify God and also show respect for our teammates, coaches, opponents, and fans. We should always seek to play with excellence, and the scoreboard is one measure of that. But winning is not our only goal at PCS. We also seek to develop godly character and discipline in our athletes. As a result, when we win, we win with humility. When we lose, we lose with dignity—not blaming others or making excuses.

PCS has a strong reputation in the community for having great students and being a welcoming place for opposing teams to visit. I believe that this reputation is a direct result of a genuine love of God and His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This love was exemplified at our first annual Paladin Invitational cross country meet on October 5. We received numerous accounts of the impact of our school’s hospitality—coaches enjoying the generous hospitality suite, parents commenting on how our staff cheered on every runner, not just our own, and runners commenting on how carefully the racecourse was prepared to avoid injury.

We can carry this sense of hospitality over into all our sports. We expect our students and parents to show respect for game officials, even when a call doesn’t go our way. We encourage our fans to cheer for the Paladins, rather than against the opposing team. We hold our community to the highest standard of respect toward those with whom we interact, both on the court and off. When we all work together to love others well, the full vision of the PCS Athletics program is accomplished, resulting in young athletes who are physically AND spiritually fit for life.

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. –Colossians 3:23-24