Athletics have been called the microcosm of life, and as such they become an invaluable window to the soul. Playing games is physical, emotional, and spiritual—all at once—and consequently provides experiences that mirror life itself with its struggles, disciplines, rewards, successes, failures, victories, disappointments, and challenges. Seeing athletics in this light brings out its purpose and value, perhaps more for the Christian than anyone else.
Scripture frequently uses athletic imagery to describe the Christian’s walk in this life (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7; Philippians 3:14 ). It is entirely appropriate, therefore, for Christian men and women (and boys and girls) to participate in athletic competitions, provided their intentions are to honor Christ and edify themselves and others. The MHA athlete aims to purposefully reflect our Creator. He strives to win while striving, simultaneously, to assimilate and express God’s qualities, most broadly His excellence and joy, and more particularly the attributes seen in Christ: humility, courage, determination, endurance, and love. To pursue athletics in this way is to make it a veritable practice field and testing ground for the establishment and growth of God’s character in us and in our children. The practical outworking of this pursuit is a team that plays hard, but never “dirty.” A team that is humble in winning and gracious in losing. Specific examples of appropriate, biblical conduct in the athletic context are found in the MHA Athletic Code of Conduct.
In accordance with the MHA Foundational Documents, MHA athletes will be trained using methods consistent with their developmental stages—mirroring the classical education methodology. For example, at the early levels of skill development, coaches will concentrate on teaching athletes foundational skills, the rules of the game, and a love for the game. It would be most appropriate for players to have roughly equal playing time, so that each one can learn in game situations. As players mature and move to higher skill levels, coaches will challenge them to work hard on their own to improve individual skills, and will begin to emphasize strategy and cooperative teamwork. It will be appropriate for coaches to reward players who demonstrate improvement, achievement, teamwork, and godly attitudes with greater playing time. At the Varsity level of competition, athletes will be expected to understand that they glorify God when they practice and play with as much skill, strategy, and vigor as they possibly can. Varsity coaches will be expected to field the most competitive team they can while still emphasizing Christian character. Playing time is not expected to be equal for every player.