At St. John’s, athletics are another way to approach the injunction
on the temple at Delphi: “Know thyself.” The college’s athletic
programs, therefore, are designed to ensure that every student—not
merely a select few—can participate. As amateurs, students strive to
realize the best in their nature, challenging themselves to explore
their limits and pressing opponents to do the same. As they do, they
experience the rewards of friendly competition: recognition among
their peers, the satisfaction of good sportsmanship, and the honor
that comes with both.
The fearless spirit that St. John’s students bring to their
learning applies equally on the playing field. Just as students plunge
headlong into learning ancient Greek, they might join an intramural
team to play a sport they’ve never tried. And just as full participa-
tion in seminar discussions benefits all, so does wide participation
in athletics. The same applies to other forms of recreation—from
running to whitewater rafting—where every game has an inner game,
played simultaneously with the physical, and where strengthening
the individual strengthens the community.
Athletics at St. John’s, then, is a means as well as an end.
Although intramural play is completely optional, everyone is
encouraged to take part. With names such as the Druids, the Green
Waves, the Hustlers, the Spartans, and the Guardians, intramural
teams in Annapolis compete in soccer, flag football, basketball,
softball, and handball. In Santa Fe, with names such as the
Myrmidons, the Geometers, the Olympians, and the Quixotics,
teams compete in basketball, flag football, volleyball, Ultimate
Frisbee, softball, badminton, and indoor and outdoor soccer.
In individual play, students square off in intramural tennis and
table tennis tournaments in Annapolis and in racquetball, squash,
fencing, and table tennis in Santa Fe.
Do students compete intercollegiately?
As a small, interconnected community, St. John’s students gravitate toward
intramural athletics. Even so, students do compete against other colleges—in fencing,
sailing, crew, and croquet at Annapolis, and in fencing, jiujitsu, and soccer at
Santa Fe. And the Santa Fe campus hockey team recently won the city championship.