When I first took over leadership of the athletic program, my first thought was “What type of person do I want my children to be when they leave Westminster?” With academic rigor already the standard at our school, my goal became defining how we could use the arena of sport as another classroom. This would give our students the same unique opportunities to compete for excellence, but against non- Westminster students. The sports arena would put them in a very public position to display skill mastery, but also demonstrate character in how they respond to the thrill of victory as well as the pain of defeat.
So why would any parent ever subject their child an activity that is certain to cause more pain than pleasure? Remember my first thought “Who do I want my son or daughter to be when they leave Westminster?” One of our jobs as educators is to teach our children how to survive and succeed in a world that is tough and competitive. Therefore, the focus of our athletics is to build champions, which I define as students that can excel in the competitive arena of life. I love how author Jon Gordon states it in his book You Win in the Locker Room First:
Everyone has a goal in the beginning to win a championship. But just because you focus on one doesn’t mean you will win one. Instead, the focus should be on developing champions. Help them grow into great leaders and great people. Teach them how to think and act. When you develop champions you develop people who will change the world.
Are we teaching our students to enjoy the sport? Yes, because learning to play it well makes it enjoyable, but playing it well requires hard work. Are we teaching them to play with mercy and godliness? Yes, and there are many a great testimonies we can share to illustrate. Do we teach them to have fun? Yes, and part of that is winning, because I promise you that teams who lose most of the time aren’t having as much fun.
So do we care about championships? Yes, but we will win championships because champions more often than not find their way into championship opportunities. Winning championships is just one of our fruits, but building champions is our root.
The strategies and tactics we choose as an athletic department will support this idea. We will use the Word of God as our primary guide to build champions that are strong in Christ as individuals, strong with Christ in communities, and able to stand for Christ in the world. We will do what we do to glorify God and prepare our children for the path he has for them.
Director of Athletics