The 4 Virtues Of An Athlete: Courage


Courage is such a vague word. What does it mean to be courageous, who can be courageous and why exactly is it an essential intangible? These are all fair questions, and I hope I can shed some light on this topic.

Courage is defined by having the ability to do something that frightens us or fighting something with great pain and struggle. It is also the ability to stand up for things that may seem overwhelming or daunting.

There are many stories in which I have had to have the courage to come out of it on top. As I am sure many of you reading have your own stories. There was one time as I was meeting friends at a party that was supposed to be a bunch of athletes meeting just to have some fun and unwinds.

However many people that were unknown to us decided to come. They cause trouble, stabbing many people as they ran off into the night. I was lucky enough to know basic first aid and CPR, and I decided to jump in and help those injured in the attack. Many people after the fact asked me if I was scared, my answer was always HELL YEAH I was frightened.


Being courageous or having courage is not the absence of fear. In fact, it is facing things by overcoming or using the fear. I have not had a single instance where I displayed courage where I was not scared before hand.

It is almost impossible to have one without the other. How you respond to fear is going to determine if you are courageous or cowardly. Simple as that. I remember my first ever football game; I must have puke five times before that game. It was my ability to overcome that fear and get on the field to do my job where I found my first sight of how courage feels.

I am not going to sit here and act like I am the picture of courage. I do however believe that I have the will and ability to face fears or hardships when I need to. This is something that you are going to need to do when you are trying to get to the highest levels of athletics.

Getting under a heavy squat, trying to convince yourself that you are going to dominate it instead of you being squished is a variety of courage.

Telling yourself that you are going to get through the injury even when things seem impossible is another form of courage. The abilities and opportunities to show courage are abundant around us.


Having grit is another aspect of having courage. When you get smacked in fact over and over again but having the courage to keep coming back for some more of a beating. That is a great way to display courage, but many people lack the grit to enjoy the fruits of that labor.

Many athletes meet hardship and crumble. They quit because things just are far to difficult and they feel like the reward is not worth the risk. However the award will always be worth the “risk.” because learning from failure is an essential aspect of life, but that is a different article.

Grit merely is doing things no one wants to do with a smile on your face because you enjoy the hard work involved. The best way to get yourself used to using grit or obtaining some grit of your own is to start small.

Start by doing the little things you do not want to do. Get yourself acclimated to doing the things that are tough, make it a game.Turn it into a daily challenge that is the best way to go about obtaining your grit!

Heroic Courage

Everyone can be the hero of their story; there is no reason why not. But being a hero is far more than just winning the girl or saving the village from the dreadful monster. Being the hero of your own story is following the journey in which every hero must go through. Joesph Campbell called this the hero’s journey. 

The journey starts off with the call to action or the call to adventure. That is when the hero is called to go away from their regular environment by either hardship or just to feel like they need to leave.

The next step is usually running into a mentor or in the myth of King Arthur, Merlin the wizard. This is the guide or person who gives you advice as you move forward on your journey.

As you gain that knowledge from the mentor, you are ready to move on into your journey crossing the threshold between your known world into the world of the unknown. This si where you are going to have to go through some real trials and hardships, this is where you are going to face your dragons.

Once you get through those trials, you will be born again into a more mature and able person. This is when you move back into the known world, and you have new stories, and new lessons to teach those back home.


Gaining courage is all about you. There is no magic formula. You have first to recognize that you are lacking it and then move toward achieving some of your own. You need to learn how to work hard and face fear.

Having courage is not the absence of fear it is mastering and using that fear to face and overcome those demons. When you can withstand all things no matter how scary they may be you can then apply that newly found grit and get on your own hero’s journey.

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