November 22, 2011

During a question-and-answer period following a speech in 2006 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts spoke about communication, and he did so in terms that are important for us to hear today.  Judge Roberts said in 2006:  “People talk of him (Ronald Reagan) as ‘The Great Communicator.’ He was a great communicator . . . because he communicated great ideas with the sincerity of a deeply felt and abiding belief in those ideas.” 

It was great ideas and great belief in those ideas that generated the great communication.

The Chief Justice continued:  “It’s vitally important to examine ideas that underlie your conduct and actions, and to make sure you’re content with those and then stick with them.”

I firmly believe that the happiest among school sports leadership today, the most content and fulfilled among us, are those whose beliefs and actions are in alignment. They are those people who have examined the ideals of educational athletics, the core values of school sports, and allow them to guide their actions.

Because they believe in the ideals of school sports, they are content in their work, and are able to stick with it and survive it even in these most difficult times.  Difficult times reveal durable leaders, and durable leaders believe in what they’re doing.

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.