Editor's Note: This blog originally was posted May 01, 2012, and the timeless message is worth another read.

A University of Wisconsin football player from my hometown years ago was hit from behind in the closing minutes of spring football practice.  It caused an injury that required surgery.  That caused him to miss the next fall’s football season; and to protect him from further injury, he was allowed to skip the following spring’s football practice and to work out with the Badgers baseball team.

He ended up leading the Big Ten Conference in hitting, and he eventually received the largest signing contract in the history of professional baseball, becoming the first “Bonus Baby” for Gene Autry’s Los Angeles Angels.

“If not for that injury in football,” he once told an audience, “caused by an unskilled walk-on in the last five minutes of the last spring football practice, I would never have played college baseball.  I would never have played Major League Baseball for 11 seasons.

“You never know,” he said, “when you are five minutes from your destiny.”


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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 45 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 nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

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.