Everyday Heroes

October 21, 2014

The last two Heisman Trophy winners have been mostly an embarrassment to college football after receiving what is supposed to be the sport’s highest individual award.

This has caused me to recall that Charles Schulz, the creator of “Peanuts” comic strip, was said to have often asked people to name the last few winners of the Heisman Trophy, the Pulitzer Prize, Miss America and Academy Awards. He reported that few people could name many of the recipients.

Then Mr. Schulz would ask the same people to name teachers and/or coaches who had inspired them. He reported that just about everyone had at least one to name quickly.

Schulz’s point was that for most of us, it is not award winners whom we remember. For most of us, the really important people are the “everyday heroes” who influenced our lives without fanfare or tribute.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com 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.