“Bodily discipline is an aid to mental and moral health” – Fr. Edward Leen
Athletics at St. Martin’s are a practicum in the capabilities and virtues that students are called to embody. We provide two distinct programs, one in the fall and one in the spring, that challenge all students at their respective level of ability to grow in physical strength and resilience. Whether the student is a natural athlete or not, our athletics are designed to meet him where he is and develop him at a level appropriate to his ability. In addition to physical improvement, our athletics are specifically designed to cultivate leadership, virtue, and spiritual strength.
FORT is a combination of functional fitness with specific useful tasks or survival skills like chopping wood, rendering first aid, and navigating difficult terrain with a compass.
Fall semester is dedicated to our Functional Outdoor Resilience Training (FORT) Leadership Program. FORT is an unorthodox approach to high school athletics. It centers on student teams or squads performing real-world tasks in physically arduous and uncomfortable circumstances. FORT is a combination of functional fitness (like Cross-fit) with specific useful tasks or survival skills like chopping wood, rendering first aid, and navigating difficult terrain with a compass. Students will confront problems and puzzles and have to work as a team, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of their brothers, in order to navigate obstacles successfully. I’ll offer you two sample afternoon FORT sessions so you have a sense of what the program has to offer:
- Monday FORT Workout:
- Lesson: Changing a tire on a vehicle
- Conditioning: 5 rounds of 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 air-squats as quickly as possible
- Leadership / Teamwork: 1 mile log run
- Capability Development: 2 teammates at a time have to change a tire while the rest of the team holds a plank position.
- Thursday FORT Workout:
- Lesson: Emergency First Aid (Abrasions, burns, splints, etc)
- Conditioning: Individuals run one lap through our Woodland Endurance Course (trail with obstacles such as log walls, culvert crawls, and net climbs)
- Leadership / Teamwork and Capability Development: Navigate the Woodland Endurance Course as a team with the addition of stations at which patients require various first aid treatments.
The Fall semester culminates in a day long FORT Meet to which all families are invited and in which all student teams (and a faculty team) compete in a grueling (within reason) series of events and obstacles followed by a grill out and festival. If there are any ambitious parents, we could probably field a parent team or two to compete in the FORT Meet at the end of the semester…your call.
Rugby is a contact sport that demands strength, endurance, courage, and a tightly-knit team.
Spring semester is rugby season! After getting in shape and building team cohesion and confidence in the Fall, St. Martin’s students turn to the rugby pitch where they compete in the vibrant Kansas Rugby League. http://www.kansasyouthrugby.com/
We can think of no sport that better integrates the physical and moral virtues that athletics provide an opportunity to develop. Rugby is a contact sport that demands strength, endurance, courage, and a tightly-knit team. As Fr. Leen notes, “The player…is being trained in the social instinct, and in proper self-suppression. To do his duty to the team the student must necessarily practice a measure of self-denial as well as self-suppression.”
For most parents, it is old news that physical activity is essential to their children’s health and happiness. At St. Martin’s the athletics program is only one of the many ways in which the boys will be physically active—but it is an important way. As we have seen, there are real skills, capacities, and virtues that athletics are uniquely positioned to cultivate, and our athletic program is built with those ends firmly in mind.