Athletics can play a vital role in a student’s education by teaching the value of self-discipline, commitment, teamwork, self-control, setting and achieving goals, perseverance, fellowship, loyalty, and cooperation. For many, athletic competition is a means to the values mentioned above, and nothing more. One exception is for those who derive or wish to derive their livelihood from athletic performance. While we welcome student-athletes of such high ability, our program is not intended to develop them to that level. Instead, we wish to use our athletics program to further the mission of the school: to train students to impact their culture for Christ. Consistent with the PCS Mission Statement, it is the objective of the PCS athletic program to teach these lessons as a part of the entire integrated curriculum for those students who choose to participate.
When we lose sight of the fact that athletics is a means to an end, we risk misleading our student-athletes. When athletics is out of balance, too much emphasis is placed on the outcome. The desire for victory can become so great that we lose sight of any benefit our student-athletes may gain in defeat. When athletics becomes the end itself, sinful behavior is easily justified. The poor call by a referee or cheating by an opponent may be seen as a wrong that in the name of justice must be addressed, often boorishly. When athletics becomes something to be worshipped, sports are often given too much attention and athletes serve as modern gods for young men and women. To counter these tendencies, we must train not only the student-athletes but also the parents, coaches and administrators in a healthy perspective on competition and give each clear expectations for conduct on the field, court, sideline and stands. This is not to say that we want our students to enjoy defeat or become passive doormats after every blown call or incident of cheating. Such a response is to replace one set of weaknesses (blown temper, profanity or ugly remark) with another (giving up, quitting or resignation with defeat). Both responses, while typical, are overcome through mature coaching and parenting that seeks to move student-athletes toward strength of spirit, body and mind.
The positive role of athletics is on display when student’s interest in competition and sport is used for the greater good. While we may not change the culture, we are given a great opportunity to capitalize on athletic interest by using it to change and develop our students into mature and godly men and women who are equipped for service and leadership to the glory of God.
The PCS Athletic Program is guided by the following Scriptural principles:
- “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
- “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value in all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
- “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1
- “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 4:10 –11
- “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
- “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
For athletics to serve our students in the best possible way, the school must have a vision for what it wants to accomplish. Without such a vision, we are at risk of succumbing to the default positions often taken by sports advocates: either that competition is only about victories, trophies and championships (and therefore requires much time, practice and money) or it is a tool for building the self-esteem of the students (and therefore must be conducted in such a way that students are shielded from unpleasant outcomes such as humiliating defeats).
The following guiding principles flow from the Scriptural principles and support the PCS vision for athletics:
- Athletics are extracurricular and a student’s participation in athletics will not exempt them from any requirements of the academic curriculum.
- The athletic program will support PCS academic standards by maintaining a balanced lifestyle. The program supports the Christian’s priority of faith and family first as well as the school’s priority of academics over athletics by scheduling practices and games (when under the school’s control and as facilities and coach’s schedules permit) in such a way as to have the least possible disruption on the student’s ability to attend church, be with family and study while also competing with excellence.
- The athletic program should include individual and team sports.
- PCS teams and individual competitors should be known for dedication and great sportsmanship. Student-athletes, coaches and parents are expected to act honorably toward their opponent, their opponents’ supporters, and the game or contest officials, regardless of how the other acts. The program seeks to represent the school community and the cause of Christ well in all its activities. All are expected to act with modesty and graciousness in victory and defeat. All are expected to abide by the letter as well as the spirit of league rules.
- We compete to win and make victory in each contest a goal while also keeping in mind higher goals.
- The athletic program should help develop a culture of discipline through athletic training. The program seeks to develop student-athletes’ skills, endurance and physical strength through qualified and competent coaching and training programs designed to minimize injuries. Discipline in the form of positive correction, assistance, improvement and prevention is emphasized. Each student-athlete is expected to commit her or himself to practice and conditioning in season and out in order to compete to the best of her or his ability. As a team player, each student-athlete should consider self-discipline as a way to support the team.
- The athletic program should encourage school spirit and promote fellowship among the athletes and PCS families.
- The athletic program should provide the student athlete:
- An appreciation for and development of one’s body.
- An ability to handle pressure with confidence and poise.
- A healthy perspective on victory and defeat.
- Knowledge in how to interact with others through team sports.
- Experience in being a leader as well as a follower.
- The will to do one’s best, no matter the circumstance.
- Satisfaction that comes from the exercise of creativity within recreation.
- A sense of belonging to something greater than oneself, be it a team or a community.
- A test of one’s ability as well as the encouragement to reach beyond perceived limits.
- The discipline that requires one to set a goal, work toward it and see it to completion.
- No sport or athletic program will be undertaken unless:
- there are a sufficient number of athletes desiring to participate,
- there is sufficient funding – fundraising for athletics is governed similarly to other school fundraising,
- there are available qualified coaches,
- there are appropriate facilities,
- there is detailed advanced planning, and
- it can accomplish the PCS mission and vision of athletics.