Economic Indicators

July 19, 2016

We don’t need the Federal Reserve Bank chairwoman to tell us about economic indicators; we have our own way of knowing at the Michigan High School Athletic Association office when the state’s economy is bad or good.

In bad economic times, we experience an increase in those registering to become MHSAA officials. When jobs are lost or hours are cut, a little extra income from officiating can make a big difference to people.

In good economic times, we see a decline in the number of registrations. We lose the officials who are in it for the money and retain the 10,000 hard core, committed officials whom school sports depends on in Michigan.

Another economic indicator is litigation. In bad economic times, fewer people resort to courts to solve disputes; while in good economic times, more people have more money to spend on lawyers to settle their squabbles.

So, what do those indicators tell us about today’s economic news?

Officials registrations in 2015-16 were the lowest in 29 years. And 2015-16 was the busiest year of litigation since 2010.

So, the good news is that the economy is improving. That’s also the bad news.

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.