“Ve’nishmartem me’od lenafshoteihem” (Deut.4:15) has traditionally been interpreted as a biblical imperative to take care of one’s body. The athletic and physical education program at Heschel promotes “a sound mind in a sound body” (Juvenal, Satires).
Interscholastic sports at Heschel are an integral component of the educational program and hone kinesthetic skills through competitive teams. Emphases are on learning the particular skills set of the varied sports games and striving together as a group to perform well. Students learn that excellence is achieved by self-discipline, dedication, and focus in and out of the classroom and that competition and cooperation go hand in hand. The athletic program, like the academic program demonstrates that:
• lasting satisfaction comes not so much from “winning” per se as from working to one’s best capacity;
• self-worth and self-confidence are by-products of hard work;
• problem solving and decision making are integral components of every skills set;
• successful performance results from the cooperative efforts of individuals with different learning styles;
• it is always prudent to hone skills already acquired to improve them;
• good sportsmanship and good citizenship comprise the same values;
• commitment, endurance, motivation, and hard work are gratifying.