Four Thrusts for Four Years

February 12, 2013

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“Four thrusts for four years.” That’s the phrase we’re using to keep us focused and, we hope, effective in addressing some of the most pressing health and safety issues of school sports. The four emphases are:

  • Require more initial and ongoing sports safety training for more coaches.
  • Implement heat and humidity management policies at all schools for all sports.
  • Revise practice policies generally, but especially for early in the fall season.
  • Modify game rules to reduce the frequency of the most dangerous play situations, and to reduce head trauma.

Each of these thrusts will be briefly addressed in my next four postings, and we will use the breadth and depth of our constituency to search for best practices and earn their approval throughout our rank and file. There will be many requests for the MHSAA to do other health and safety related things; but we believe if we keep the focus on these four thrusts for four years, we can do the most good most quickly for the most students


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.