Championship Comments

April 23, 2013

Tom Lang wrote for the Lansing State Journal on April 5, 2013, about our most recent four-time MHSAA wrestling champion who, in keeping with our policy of not naming students in blogs, is not named here.

What really makes me want to name the Fowlerville senior heavyweight is that, in Lang’s article, the four-time champ freely names his practice partners over the years and credits them for his success.

With maturity and humility uncharacteristic of athletes twice his age, our newest of 17 four-time champs said:  “I definitely had some great practice partners who were beating me up;” and he named five of them who he said “were all great practice partners for me.  They were quicker so I had to make sure I stayed in good position and worked a lot on speed and more fluid technique.”

This senior, who pinned every opponent he faced this past season continued:  “A lot of people might have been four-time state champs but they get one injury and that ruins it.  Four years can be looked at as a very short time, but that’s a long time with wrestling and how you can face injury.  There seems to be a lot of knee torqueing and shoulder injuries, the joints – and it really wears at you going four years in high school.  It can be brutal on the body.  So just staying healthy four years so you get a chance, is just the start.”

Giving credit to good partners and good luck.  I’m thinking this young man already knows much more about life than wrestling.

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.