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Valuable Volunteers

One of the most encouraging aspects of the job I have enjoyed for more than 30 years is what I see on display whenever I attend regular-season contests and Michigan High School Athletic Association tournaments. It's the many volunteers who make the events run smoothly.

From parking lot supervisors, to ticket sellers and ticket takers, to concession stand cooks and servers, to program sellers, to the dozens of people needed to time and measure and otherwise administer large meets in individual sports . . . volunteers are the blood pulsing through the veins of school-sponsored sports events.

They work in numbers that amaze me; they work with consistency and longevity that humbles me. They show up years after their own children were participants. I can attend the same event several years in a row and see most of the same volunteers serving year after year. Serving with enthusiasm and with joy, and with no more compensation than a T-shirt, sandwich and soft drinks.

Appropriately, our trophies and medals go to the top-performing student-athletes. But my gratitude goes to these many behind-the-scenes adults.

Thanks for another great year.

Posted in: Perspective

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 44 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.