Fracking in School Sports

May 1, 2015

First there were rumors, then there were reports, and now there are beginning to be results from geological surveys warning that the process of fracking in oil and gas exploration and deep ground extraction is increasing the frequency of earthquakes in several parts of the United States.
I want to say, “Duh! How could it not?” Why would it surprise any rational human being that the delicate blue marble we inhabit would not get off kilter when we bore deep into the surface with drills and explosive charges and then pump water at high pressure into the tunnels we create and the crevices we exploit? When I put that picture in my mind, I shudder.
Often I picture the world of school sports like this marble we inhabit. Sometimes I see exploiters drilling deep into our core, dropping explosives, applying pressure, and extracting what they believe are valuable resources while laying waste to everything else, including very much that is very precious to very many other people – in fact, to most athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, parents and spectators.
We should pay attention to the times when we feel our foundation shaking, even just a little. We should make it difficult for the exploiters to extract our elite, especially when they disregard and lay waste to everything else that holds our world – educational athletics – together.

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.