Corporate Care

March 10, 2015

One of the MHSAA’s newest corporate sponsors is arguably one of its most important ever because it will assist the MHSAA’s aspirations to go further beyond the ordinary in promoting student-athlete health and safety.
That new sponsor is Sparrow Health System, and you can read about our new relationship by clicking here.
During the many discussions with Sparrow’s leadership leading up to our partnership, we learned of its membership in the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network; and during our review of some of Mayo’s work we reviewed an April 2012 Mayo Clinic article about the risks of concussion in high school football.
The article presented the results of a carefully controlled study of individuals who played high school football in Rochester, Minnesota, during the decade 1946 to 1956.
The conclusion was that those participants did not have an increased risk of later developing dementia, Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) compared to non-football-playing high school males. The study notes that this was the case even though, compared to today, “there was poorer equipment and less regard for concussions and no rules prohibiting head-first tackling (spearing).”
There is no small supply of data that sheds better light on the head trauma hysteria in sports in general and football in particular. We cite such data as a counter-balance, not as a reason to slow the search for safer ways to conduct school sports. Our new sponsorship is evidence that we are increasing our capacity to do much more.

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.