The Power of Esto Vir


David Bader

As a prelude to this article, I’d like to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who went out to Kansas City or took part in the Soccer State games last weekend. Whether it was the players themselves, the fans watching online, those who made the trek out to KC, or the Red Army itself, thank you so much. Thank you, seniors. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, to continue on:

The phrase “Esto Vir” seems to be draped all around our school. Whether it’s on advertisements, painted on the wall, or displayed in our school seal, a person can’t go very far on the Chaminade campus without seeing “Esto Vir”, which means “be a man”.  To an outsider, the phrase could be misconstrued as propaganda. It could be seen as a cheap admissions gimmick. And, though I heard the phrase “Esto Vir” uttered in almost every tour at Open House, an outsider might see our motto as nothing of real importance. However, the truth is the exact opposite.

The spirit of Esto Vir permeates the Chaminade campus. To a person who truly knows the school, the motto represents who we are as a Chaminade family. We are brothers, plain and simple. We look out for each other, we support each other, and, if I may be so bold, I believe we love each other as well. This family spirit is unique to Chaminade and is something to be cherished immensely. Very few (if any) other places foster the special kind of bonds that Chaminade does, and no other place produces the special type of men that Chaminade does. This was absolutely clear to me last Saturday night, November 15th, a night which was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had at Chaminade.

I know that my next words may bring out feelings of sadness, but I’d ask you to bear with me anyway. If you have not heard, we did not win first place in the state soccer finals. We did, however, come in second. But, what truly shined brightly Saturday night was not the final score on the board. Rather, it was the undeniable sense of fraternity, brotherhood, and sportsmanship that the men of Chaminade displayed.


The very first sign which showed how superb the Chaminade family is would be the sheer number of people who took the time to drive four hours to Kansas City. On Saturday, Lee’s Summit didn’t even have a student section. They had nothing. Chaminade, on the other hand, had the entire Red Army there, dressed in full red gear. There were even many parents in attendance from Chaminade. This is but the first sign in a long list of examples of the great nature of Chaminade and our motto “Esto Vir”. We came out to Kansas City to support our brothers, period.

The second sign of the power of Esto Vir was an easy one to see: the rowdiness of the Red Army. Even the frigid cold of the snow did not stop the Red Army. Rather, we donned all kinds of winter gear to combat the cold and to support our brothers. And, even after standing in the cold for hours with the score tied, the Red Army’s enthusiasm never waned; it never faltered. It never faltered because we had a reason to be there. We hadn’t driven four hours for the hell of it. We had driven to support our fellow men, our brothers, in a very important time. We were living Esto Vir.

However, all of this is minimal in light of something else: how the men of Chaminade are truly good men. Even after losing the game in penalty kicks, no one from the Red Army left, not one. Let me tell you, lesser men would have left. Lesser men would have said, “THOSE soccer players let us down. THEY were supposed to win for the school. THEY failed us; WE are leaving.” But, that didn’t happen. Rather, the Red Army waited, patiently, through the awards process and through the handing out of the medals, in order to storm the field. Because, even though we had lost that particular game, it wasn’t just about the game. It was about charging onto the field to send a clear message to our soccer team: “We are one with you. We are here to comfort you. We are your brothers.” And, so, the Red Army waited to be with the team, to run up to them, to hug them, to talk to them, and to comfort them. This shows the true caliber of men we produce here at Chaminade. Other men would have left the stadium, angry and bitter, cursing our team for losing. At Chaminade, we don’t. At Chaminade, we truly embrace the power of “Esto Vir”, and we show what it truly means to “be a man”. We didn’t leave the stadium. We stood and stayed, waiting to greet our brothers from the field.

However, the Red Army was not allowed to storm the field. Rather, we were instructed to wait in the parking lot for our brothers to exit the field. And so, we waited. We waited outside the gate of the stadium for minutes, still cold, all in order to see our Chaminade brothers. At one point, the Red Army began to chant “let us in” which was heard by the soccer team as a clear message that we were there. After waiting for what seemed like an agonizingly long amount of time, the soccer players exited the field, and the Red Army split in half to form a tunnel for the players to walk through. And, even as the tears rolled from the eyes of the soccer players, the Red Army remained standing as a tunnel offering claps, smiles, encouragements, and hugs to our brothers. I overheard Coach Tim Gauvain say, “You guys are the best fans in the state.” It was only after the whole soccer team had exited the field and walked through the tear filled tunnel of red did the Red Army begin to peacefully walk back to our cars to make the long trip home.

Lesser men wouldn’t have done any of this. Lesser men would have stormed out of the stadium and left their players for dead. But, here at Chaminade, we’re different. We believe in our motto, “Esto Vir”. We believe that it is our duty to wait until we can meet our team, to comfort our team, to celebrate with our team, and even to cry with our team. Furthermore, the Red Army left without destroying any property out of anger, as some lesser men would have done. That is because lesser men don’t live by the standards of Esto Vir, as we do.

It was during the time I stood in our man-made tunnel that I realized how proud I was of Chaminade. I know it seems odd to be proud after a loss, but I was. The citizenship, the sportsmanship, the brotherhood, and the solidarity demonstrated by the Red Army in Kansas City created the proudest moment I have ever had at Chaminade. Regardless of the score, regardless of the game, what the Red Army did in Kansas City over the weekend shows how powerful living “Esto Vir” can be.

At Chaminade, we’re not just throwing around the phrase “Esto Vir” for fun. I can tell you, it’s not a marketing gimmick. It’s not an admissions gimmick. The purpose of creating true men at Chaminade and the brotherhood at Chaminade are absolutes, unquestionably.

Thus, those who were in the game, those who went to the game, those in the Red Army, and the leaders of the Red Army deserve the highest level of praise I can give. You have my deepest gratitude. You have my deepest praise. It was an honor to be part of the Red Army, and it was an honor to be a part of Chaminade in general. Our institution truly shapes young boys into men, through our motto “Esto Vir”, a truth which was very clearly seen in Kansas City over the weekend.

Thank you, Chaminade. Thank you, Red Army. Thank you, soccer players. Thank you, seniors. Without you, this would not have been possible. Thank you for understanding the power of Esto Vir. Thank you for living Esto Vir. Thank you for being true men.