“The Church cannot but encourage everything that serves in harmoniously developing the human body,” Pope St. John Paul II told Italian athletes in 1981. “It is rightly considered the masterpiece of the whole of creation, not only because of its proportion, strength, and beauty, but also and especially because God has made it His dwelling place and the instrument of an immortal soul, breathing into it that ‘breath of life’ by which man is made in His image and likeness.”
To promote this harmonious development of the human body, Thomas Aquinas College complements its rigorous academics and rich spiritual life with a thriving intramural sports program. The most popular sports on both campuses are soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee, although many students frequently take part in tennis, flag football, trail running, and hiking. Student athletics directors organize annual sports seasons and team sign-ups.
In California, students avail themselves of the Pope St. John Paul II Athletic Center, which opened its doors in 2022, thanks to the generosity of the Fritz B. Burns Foundation of Los Angeles. Featuring hardwood basketball courts, weight rooms, climbing and bouldering walls, and an outdoor swimming pool, the JPII Athletic Center provides a balancing complement for the intellectual life the students lead in the classroom.
Surfing has long been a popular activity for students on the West Coast. The College keeps surf boards for the shared use of the students, who take frequent advantage of their proximity to the Pacific Ocean. With more than one attractive beach within a short drive of campus, you are more than likely to run into a fellow TAC student on a great beach day.
Students on the New England campus enjoy spending the warmer months of the year on the banks of the Connecticut River, only a short walk from campus. The College has a store of kayaks that students use to take advantage of lovely fall and spring days. During the winter months, TACers take to the slopes at nearby ski resorts, and when one of the campus ponds freezes over, ice skating and hockey become popular events.
The patronage of St. John Paul II extends to the New England campus, as well. The Pope St. John Paul II Athletic Center, formerly Meany Gymnasium, boasts the Connelly Family Aquatic Center, basketball courts, workout and weight rooms, rock climbing, and a dance studio. While there are multiple spacious athletic fields on campus, the athletic center enables a variety of indoor activities to continue during the chilly winter months.
“Body and soul are inseparable: in the person, in the willing agent, and in the deliberate act,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor. “They stand or fall together.”