Community Development

April 1, 2015

When those who lead, manage and deliver school sports do their jobs well, the whole child – body, mind and spirit – is educated. Students learn to lead, and they learn to follow. They learn to become good team captains and good teammates.
When the job is done well, we place good sports on the path to becoming great citizens. We elevate both school spirit and GPAs. We lower dropout rates and discipline problems.
When the job is done well, school sports is an essential component of school improvement, as well as of the community building and place making strategies that every progressive city and town in Michigan is thinking about.
Successful schools are the ones in the center of community life; and when the job is well done, school sports programs are central to the life of those schools.
Building a school program without sports is like constructing the physical school building without the mortar that holds things together. Building a community without comprehensive schools is just as foolish.

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.