The Meaning of Virtue

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Reflecting on my experiences in sport

Virtuous can mean many different things for many different people. The example that was given from the article suggested that is the case of the Greek virtue means excellence as an example. “Homer, Sophocles, Aristotle, the New Testament, and medieval thinkers differ from each other in too many ways. They offer us different and incompatible lists of the virtues; they give a different rank order of importance to different virtues; and they have different and incompatible theories of the virtues” [1] so the definition of virtue maybe contain many definitions.

For me the definition is best defined as moral excellence and righteousness. This to me means to have the common sense to do the right thing even if it has a cost of creating enemies losing friends etc. to do the right thing, “Nothing in the world—or out of it! —can possibly be conceived that could be called ‘good’ without qualification except a GOOD WILL. Mental talents such as intelligence, wit, and judgment, and temperaments such as courage, resoluteness, and perseverance are doubtless in many ways good and desirable; but they can become extremely bad and harmful if the person’s character isn’t good.” [2] there are many courses in sports certification that go over ethics, what a coach should do and not do with their athletes at different age groups. They are ethically bound by law, and there are not bound by law but can be unethical. For example, if there is a coach that is showing power over a college athlete by law there is nothing unethical in their interaction, yet the show of power is unethical it gives the person with power an “advantage” over the oppressed.

I coached U12/U13 soccer before the pandemic. During my coaching one of the things, we taught our players is to play the game, only fall if you are hurt and say the truth even if it costs a disallowed goal. Doing the right thing again can mean something else. This helps build character and makes the players want to play the game even more and give it their all, have the sense of honesty that made them value the game more and more. Virtues are the blocks that build character.

Reference:

1 MacIntyre, A. (1981). The Nature of the Virtues. The Hastings Center Report, 11(2), 27–34. https://doi.org/10.2307/3561072

2 Kant, I., & Schneewind, J. B. (2002). Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Yale University Press.

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