There's more to fortitude than strength in the face of adversity. It's part of the bigger natural order of things.

In football, we talk a lot about adversity and striving to overcome difficulties all the time. Many times football imitates life, so it is a good idea for all of us to be prepared to face hardship, distress or merely bad luck. In our Gilpin Football Program, we use words like toughness, salty, gritty, guts, perseverance, endurance and determination to prepare for times of need. You can catch me saying:
"When the times are the darkest, or when someone pops you in the mouth...that's the time to get stronger...not weaker." My Coaching staff brings a wealth of old-school...real-world experience so you can also find the term "Buck-up" as another one of those calls to action terms that are found located somewhere in the lesson to describe how to summons some added courage when needed.

The other day one of my coaches was a little frustrated about what seemed like a lack of something from a few of our players when it came to playing with pain or feeling too sick to go to practice. Fortitude is the word that came to his mind at the moment... and I think the word encompasses much of what we are trying to impart on our young men.

After some blank stares, my coach asked all of our players to look up fortitude when they got home and to bring him back a definition of the word for the next day. As I began to reflect on the essentials of fortitude, I started to realize that fortitude was just part of a much bigger natural order of things. Fortitude is only one part of what is known as the Four Natural Virtues, and as we instruct...we must also be aware of the close relationship of the other three natural virtues: Prudence, Justice, and Temperance as it relates to football and the lessons for life in general.

Here are some of my football related descriptions of the four natural virtues:

Prudence: Avoiding waste and having wisdom in practical matters. We often talk about being efficient in our movements and having no wasted steps...slipping blocks instead of attacking someone who is bigger than us while using our strengths juxtaposed to their weaknesses. As I like to say...being graceful and taking advantage of the situation.

Justice: The idea of fairness and being able to appreciate something properly. "Sometimes you need to look at the big picture," is what I was always told...Justice is one of those virtues that has two sides to the lessons. 1) Can you treat those around you with fairness and look at the situation in front of you with proper perspective? Much like understanding speed and strength of your opponent when sizing up someone, and 2) learning that you will not always be treated fairly...the idea that you will always be treated fairly is somewhat of a misguided expectation. The "refs" may seem to make calls against you or you think you should get more playing time are both examples of learning to deal with the virtue of justice...just on the other side. Nobody owes you have to earn it.

Fortitude: A mental strength that allows you to move forward enthusiastically when faced with adversity, force, or some type of temptation. Learning to deal with obstacles or just some force attacking you are both reasonably obvious factors on the football field...but not being tempted to go in the wrong direction (staying home) or to be tempted to stay away from a workout or practice is just as meaningful to the game.

Temperance: Moderation and self restraint...staying in disciplined control. As we relate these virtues to football, I've realized that most of my players couldn't give a decent definition of temperance when asked strait-out. It's just not a term that we use much anymore...but when given a little background about what we are teaching...the players can see where it all fits in. Being out of control and lacking discipline on and off the field has no place in football.

As we get ready for the next big game or the next seemingly insurmountable obstacle...we can look to the combination of these four football terms for added clarity in times of need...all along knowing that we are on the right path and that we already possess the strength for ultimate success.

Craig Ball is a football Coach for the Gilpin Eagles in Black Hawk Colorado. Coach talks about fortitude and other natural virtues as it relates to Football. Prudence, Justice Fortitude and Temperance

Efforts and courage are not enough
Adversity improves performance
The definition of success

Comment Section: These four virtues are also called the Four Cardinal Virtues. There are three heavenly graces that are linked to the Cardinal Virtues. 1) What are the three heavenly graces? 2) Who originated this list of virtues? 3) Which of the four natural virtues do you think is your strongest virtue and why?


  1. 1. Faith, Hope, and Love
    2. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
    3. I believe that fortitude is the strongest virtue because it is used in all occasions. In sports, jobs, and in school we all experience fortitude and pushing through the hardest point of pain and adversity shows a lot of character.

  2. The 4 Cardinal Virtues are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice which are all from the bible. The three heavenly graces that are linked to the virtues are faith, hope, and charity. I think i'm the strongest with fortitude because when i'm down in the dirt I always get back up being stronger.

    1. I forgot to put this in but the heavenly graces originated from Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.

  3. 1. Faith, Hope, and Charity
    2. Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham
    3. I believe Justice is my strongest virtue because I try to be fair as possible to people.

  4. The three heavenly graces are Faith, Hope and Charity. This list of Virtues originated from the religion of Christianity. I think that if I were to choose one natural virtues I would think I follow the Temperance one the most. I tend to not be tempted into things and I also like to conserve things. I do not fall into peer pressure easily. I am very self reliant.

  5. 1) First mentioned in Corinthians 1:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
    2) This list of virtues was first mentioned in Corinthians 1:13
    3) My strongest virtue would probably be Justice, because i have a strong belief that everyone deserves justice.

  6. 1) Faith, hope, and charity.
    2) Originated from the Bible
    3) I think Prudence would be my strongest virtue because I know how and when to judge actions at given times to know what might be best for the situation.

  7. The three heavenly graces are Faith, Hope, and Charity. These originated from the bible. I think that fortitude is my strongest virtue because I am so mentally strong that I can do almost anything that I put my mind to.

  8. 1.) Faith, Hope and Love
    2.)Wisdom of Solomon 8:7 "She [Wisdom] teaches temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life."
    3.) My strongest virtue would be justice, becuase I can see different points of View ina debate, and judge accordingly.

  9. 1. Faith, Hope, and Love are the three heavenly graces
    2. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino created the Four Cardianl Virtues, prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice.
    3. I thing prudence is my strongest virtue out of the Four Cardianl Virtues. Prudence meants "the quality of being prudent; cautiousness, intelligence, sense, common sense. It's my strongest virtue because I usually think twice before doing something and if i'm not 100% sure with something i'm cautious about it.

  10. Faith, hope, and charity. Originated from the bible. I think fortitude is the best because its courage and bravery and in life there are a lot of things people have to be brave about like starting at a new school or playing a huge game in front of millions of people.

  11. Faith, hope and love are the 3 heavenly graces. They originated from the bible. I think my strongest virtue is prudence because i think things out before i do them and find the best solution.

  12. The three heavenly graces are faith, hope, and love/charity. Raphael Created the four cardinal virtues. I believe that my natural virtue is the virtue of fortitude. I have a strong metal state and no word can hurt me. I am pretty good at solving problems.

  13. 1)Diligence, Patience, and Kindness.

    2) Plato's scheme

    3) I think that justice is the best one because no matter what goes on in life you always have to treat people fair or you will not be treat fair.

  14. faith, hope and courage you can have a strong outlook on the world and not be affected by other people that hurt you.

  15. Joke, goof, strong the goof will not let people affect you and others cant hurt you

  16. Every time you leave yourself open to a attack... its always never going to bring you down... you are only human.. you are full of,HOPE,LOVE,and WILLPOWER...

  17. Faith so you can belive in your self

  18. 1:Faith, hope, and love are the three graces

    2:Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

    3: I believe that fortitude is my best one because there are many times where I do something wrong or can't focus but I keep trying until I get it.

  19. 1. Faith, Hope, and Love
    2. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
    3. I have two strong virtues, temperance and fortitude. These are my two strongest virtues because I always smile even if I know I have had a bad game I still look at the bright side and focus on the bad things we have done and fix them. I do that instead of slumping around and being angry at everyone. I also have a ton of moderation and self-restraint. I won't take my hand away at the end of a game during high-fives because I have temperance.

  20. Don't let something stupid affect you from what you do every day because you have to move on in life get better.

  21. 1)Faith, Love, Kindness
    2) Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
    3) I think that temperance is my strongest virtue because in basketball I can control my emotions well and I don't cry, get mad at someone for messing up, I stay in control.

  22. 1)Faith hope love
    2)Raffaello Sanzio da urbino
    3)I think that the greatest virtue is hope because when you have hope you can do anything.

  23. proper mindset
    willing to grow stronger

  24. 1)Faith, hope, and love

    2) Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

    3) Temperance is my strongest virtue because I am good with controlling myself and I have good temper I won't get upset easily.

  25. Faith Hope charity, The people who originated this is the greek philosophy. The strongest virtue is justice because if everyone was a justice we would not be mad at each other and not have wars and people would not get as hurt as people are today.

  26. Faith, so you wont give up and you will belive in youself to do somthing that you might not be good at.

  27. 1.Faith,Hope,and love
    2.Plato in Meno
    3.I believe that my strongest virtue is justice because i try to play fair as possible.

  28. 1 faith, love, hope
    2 raffaello sanzio da urbino
    3 fortitude

  29. 1.Faith,hope and love
    2.Do your best even with its hard
    3. Believe you can do it

  30. 1) faith, hope and love
    2) Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
    3) I believe that Justice is my best because you have to treat everybody fairly which is what I try to do everyday

  31. faith hope and love. my strongest one out of all of them is hope.this is because I never give up on any one and never give up on myself.

  32. Hope, love and faith are three things you can keep, but you can lose it if you try too.


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