By Leonardo Briceno
Plato, perhaps one of the greatest thinkers of all time, suggested that man—as a being—was made of three components. Man, Plato argued, is mind, soul, and body. And thus in order to have a full-formed human being, man must develop and exercise all three of these areas. Without development in one of them, there’s going to be something missing and result in an unbalanced lifestyle. At Patrick Henry College, we don’t think he was that far off. Just to be clear, just because Plato said it, doesn’t make it true. He had a lot to say, and some of it wasn’t exactly biblical. That being said, Plato’s words have an element of truth to them. Through classes like philosophy and principles of Biblical reasoning, students at Patrick Henry College learn about and explore the idea of God’s mandate to man to look after and to steward his creation. And part of that creation in need of development, much in the same vein as Plato’s thinking, is the human body. Human excellence, as looked at and taught at Patrick Henry College, encourages students to pursue excellence in all areas of their life. First and foremost, there’s a relationship with Jesus Christ. And of course as students, the attendees at Patrick Henry College seek after and strive for academic excellence. But one mustn’t think that just because these two are true, that this somehow nullifies a need for a pursuit of physical wellbeing. Regardless of whether you’re looking at the Bible, Plato’s writing or both, it’s clear that taking care of one’s body is an important part of looking after one’s self. Patrick Henry College recognizes this, and in an attempt to provide for its students has created a number of different areas where students can use not only their mind, but their bodies as well.
Patrick Henry College comes equipped with a weight-lifting gym that provides students with every tool they’ll need in their journey towards fitness. Many students come into college, excited to be able to live with independence for the first time in their lives. To many, this comes with a commitment to themselves to look after their bodies, promising that they will hit the gym consistently throughout their four years here. It’s a promise they may or may not keep. But as far as the Patrick Henry College campus is concerned, a fully-sized gym is there to help them on their way. Students might frequent the gym on a rare occurrence, perhaps releasing some frustration after a particularly stressful week. Others at Patrick Henry College might make the trip down to the weight room once a week. Many students make the gym a part of their every-day life. Whatever their dedication to building muscle and burning away a few extra pounds may be, the gym and its opportunities remain constant. Patrick Henry College understanding that physical development is a priority. The gym is also open to the community in Purcellville, making it a good place to connect with people living off campus. For alumni from Patrick Henry College, the gym and its services remains available to them free of charge.
On the Field of Competition
Patrick Henry College offers two official, school-supported sport teams. Frist, Patrick Henry College has a young but developing soccer team. While the school’s focus is largely academic, there are those who take fancy to kicking a ball downfield and then again up the field—and a growing number at that. The Patrick Henry College soccer team is a great way of getting to know students and to build friendships through a common interest. For students without cars, it’s also a great opportunity to get off campus and play against other teams outside of the state. Secondly, Patrick Henry College has a basketball team. While it’s the lesser developed of the two sports, the basketball team offers similar opportunities to students. But the athletic interests of the students at Patrick Henry College don’t stop at basketball and soccer. Every year, the student body engages in intermural sports, pitting their best against other in their student body. And make no mistake, they are a competitive bunch; perhaps not as competitive as they might be in debate, but competitive nonetheless. Frisbee, Wallyball, volleyball, spike ball, racquetball, tennis, ping pong, and football (along with skirmishes of both soccer and basketball) are all sports that are included in these inter-student competitions at Patrick Henry College. These provide any student at the college to compete in the sport of their choice. Moreover, if a student has a particular interest in a sport that’s not typically played at Patrick Henry College, they may also always introduce the sport and become a leader to popularize it. This has happened surprisingly frequently and its often the interest of a few students that drives the campus to adopt a new sport as was the case with Wallyball and spike ball recently. In addition to providing a good athletic outlet, these opportunities provide students at Patrick Henry College to be leaders and participate in campus life while competing against their friends. Sports have long had the ability to bring people together for a common interest. At a school like Patrick Henry College with a concise student body, that effect is only compounded.
The Long and Short of It
These aren’t the only opportunities for students to engage in physical activities while at Patrick Henry College. This small look into these avenues doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of activities available for students in the greater Purcellville area. Hiking, biking, rock wall climbing and more are all available to students as well if they wish to delve off campus for a few hours. At the end of the day, Patrick Henry College highlights and supports its students’ pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and encourages them to prioritize a physical development alongside a spiritual and intellectual education. As long as the students at Patrick Henry College continue to express an interest in the pursuit of physical fitness, both the leadership of the school and its campus will reflect that interest.