“The Verb Way” and “The strongest shall survive” – mantras play role in athletic and academic motivation and excellence

By Khalid Nelms, Staff Writer

At Verbum Dei, many of the sports teams have their own mini-traditions and sayings that get passed from upperclassmen to the next class of talented and promising athletes. Some of these traditions have been at the Verb for a long time, and even recently there are notable additions.

In particular, the baseball team, since returning as a sport last year, has revived the mantra: “The strongest shall survive.” This mantra has been with Verb athletics for a long time, in fact, since the mid-1960s – only a few years away from the year of Verbum Dei High School’s inception. Two more sports that have had mantras  – different from baseball – are football and basketball, who share the saying: “The Verb Way.”  This saying has been commonly used to motivate and to inspire athletes in both sports, who understand it to mean the maintenance of a balance of excellence in academics and athletics.

“What I like about is that it describes us as a school, we are normally short on players and usually when we play it’s about survival,” said Junior Jayden Brownlee, who has played football for the last two years at Verb.  “For example in football, we lost people, and we had injuries.”  This reality has had athletes “playing both sides of the ball” rather than specializing on offense or defense, which makes Verb football all the more physically demanding.

This particular mantra has a significant impact, even beyond athletics.  It is used more commonly by seniors; nonetheless, it is promising that juniors have taken notice, or at least one of their best students.

“I feel proud when I say it knowing that me and my teammates are in this fight for survival together,” said Brownlee.  “We need to have each other’s back and look out for one another.”

Such mantras carry meaning and have become a legendary piece of the Verb’s puzzle. Certainly these mantras, that are commonly used to motivate students, are doing so.

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