Advancing CPR

November 24, 2015

This fall was the first for the requirement that all high school varsity head coaches have current certification in CPR.

If a coach was not CPR certified by the deadline (which was Sept. 17), that coach could not coach at or even be present at the MHSAA tournament where his/her team would be participating.

Only three of the MHSAA’s 750 member high schools failed to comply with that requirement. That’s progress.

But what we also hoped for was that schools which were not already doing so would use this new requirement as a means of providing or requiring CPR certification for assistant and subvarsity coaches as well. And it appears we’ve made some progress on this as well.

Of 640 responses received so far, 80 percent of schools arranged in-person CPR training for all high school varsity head coaches, and 67 percent included assistant and subvarsity coaches in this in-person training.

In the future, the MHSAA Representative Council will be considering refinements of the CPR requirement in order to increase the quantity of certified coaches and improve the quality of programs that are approved to fulfill the requirement. Continuing progress is imperative.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.