The Best Is Yet To Come

June 17, 2014

My last posting was built on six words from the novel, No Small Mischief, a fictional memoir of life in Nova Scotia’s northernmost region. Today’s posting is launched from an 11-word passage from the same work: “Living in the past is not living up to our potential.”
How horrible it is to peak in high school. 
To remember high school as the best days of life is not such a problem, unless it is true. If, in fact, we were at our best during our high school years, then we have failed to fully develop as human beings.
I heard an athletic director close a senior student-athlete awards program recently by saying, wisely, “I hope you will visit us, but not too long or too often. You need to get on with your lives.”
The high school experience – including competitive athletics – is not the end, not the fulfillment of anything. It is, at its best, the launching pad for life.
That it can be the best days of one’s youth should not make school sports the best years of one’s life.

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.