Double Win Practice Policies

February 22, 2013

The MHSAA’s third health and safety thrust for the next four years focuses on practice rules, especially early in the fall season.

Here we will be especially interested in finding “double wins,” that is, policies that simultaneously enhance acclimatization and reduce head contact.

In football, for example, this could mean increasing the number of days without protective pads before the first practice in full pads.  Michigan requires three days, but there’s a trend toward four or five days in other states.

Football might also limit any day to a single practice in pads, following the lead of colleges and a growing number of state high school associations that are restricting two-a-day practices in pads on the same day or on consecutive days.

Both of these changes could make acclimatization more gradual and healthy, and reduce the occurrences for contact to the head:  two priorities as practice policies are reviewed and revised.

The MHSAA’s sport committees, sometimes with their work augmented by that of special task forces, are being charged with these responsibilities.

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.