The RHCA Athletic Task Force was put in place in the middle of the Fall 2020 semester. At that point, they began gauging the interest level of both students and parents regarding adding athletics to RHCA. The Task Force also spoke with other Classical Christian schools to better understand how they began their athletic programs.
Athletic competition is an artificial endeavor. It mimics real life without being real. This is evidenced by the terms we use: we “play” a sport and competitions are called “games.” The 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: River Hills Christian Academy exists to assist Christian parents in educating young people of strong mind, spirit, and body, by providing a classical education that equips students to impact the world with the truth of Jesus Christ.
God called us to be good stewards of the talents and abilities He has given us. The RHCA athletics program will assist students with finding those talents, encouraging each child to grow in his or her abilities, and continually giving glory to God for all that we are given.
Athletic programs incorporated into an academic setting have been proven to improve academic achievement and cognitive skills, such as concentration and memory (educating young people of strong mind), attitudes and classroom conduct (educating young people of strong spirit), and of course, physical fitness of participants (educating young people of strong body). The implementation of an athletic program at RHCA is an integral piece of fulfilling our mission as a Classical Christian Academy.
Grammar school culture number one is “Love and respect others as God commands.”
In Matthew 22:36-40, a man asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
This verse makes it clear: We must teach our children to put God above all else, then we must love others, then we must love ourselves. An athletic program is one component of a classical Christian school designed to encourage this mentality. Athletic sports shift the mindset of those involved from “me,” to “we,” reinforcing the idea that we must place others above ourselves. Additionally, the presence of an athletic program increases the bonding not only among participating athletes, but among students and community members offering supporting roles.
The athletic program at RHCA will be utilized not only to teach sports, but to encourage our children’s growth as Christians; giving God all the glory and thanks for everything He has given to us. Our children will be taught to focus on a “Team before Me” mindset, mirroring the teachings of God’s Commandments and our grammar school culture. And finally, the athletics program is intended to increase bonding within the RHCA community, as we all rally together in support of our Eagles during competitions.