Data is Due

December 4, 2015

Allow me to wander way outside my expertise for a moment … to quantum physics. I believe this is the discipline where it is said that “something doesn’t exist until it is described and measured.”

This statement embodies one of the reasons the MHSAA has mandated that, beginning this school year, member schools must report all possible head injuries in the practices and events of school sports. We want to get at least a general description and approximate measurement of our story here as we listen to the nationwide narrative about health and safety in school sports.

Early returns – that is, preliminary numbers for fall sports – are being presented to the MHSAA Representative Council today. A public release will follow before the end of the year. A more complete report – based on fall, winter and spring sports – will be provided after the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year. And in the future, year-to-year comparisons of the numbers will provide a more meaningful story.

The MHSAA is also gathering data from two pilot programs that are intended to increase attention on sideline concussion detection and recordkeeping, and also from the concussion care insurance the MHSAA has purchased for all participants in all MHSAA member junior high/middle schools and high schools beginning this school year.

Data from all three initiatives may help those who make the equipment and prepare the rules of play in the ongoing campaign to make our good school sports programs even better.

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.