Future Actions

February 19, 2016

MHSAA committees have prepared not quite two dozen recommendations for Representative Council action later this spring. Once again this is a smaller than average number of proposals, and again they are modest in scope and significance. What has been different in recent years, and especially this year, is the length and depth of discussions by some of the committees.

Slowly, we are changing committee focus from tournament tweaks and other strictly transactional business to more strategic, even transformational issues.

Several committees talked longer than ever about health and safety issues, with attention to concussion and sports specialization, and how to accommodate and appeal to younger grade levels (6th, 7th and 8th).

I look forward to the day when these long discussions turn into provocative proposals. For example, I would love to hear that ...

  • The MHSAA Football and Junior High/Middle School Committees recommend MHSAA sponsorship of flag football at the 6th- through 8th-grade levels.

  • The MHSAA Soccer and Junior High/Middle School Committees recommend practice and game policies that reduce heading at the 6th- through 8th-grade levels.

  • The MHSAA Golf Committee recommends MHSAA sponsorship of coed, Ryder Cup format golf.

  • The MHSAA Tennis Committee recommends MHSAA sponsorship of coed team tennis.

There is so much more we could be doing to transform school sports for the 21st Century. New sports and formats, with increased attention to health and safety and the junior high/middle school level. This is our future, when talk turns to action.

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.