Generation Next

January 31, 2014

A capacity crowd of more than 700 will fill the Crowne Plaza Lansing West this Sunday and Monday for the 2014 MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference.

Young women who are interested in leadership as well as men and women responsible for recruiting, hiring, training and retaining women as coaches, administrators and officials will be in attendance. Click here for program details.

I fully expect to see meeting rooms and hallways full of enthusiastic people with a “can-do” spirit. After all, that’s the type of person who takes the time and goes to the trouble to attend a conference like this and to encourage or even arrange for others to attend or even to lead sessions.

And they won’t be dodging tough topics. They will talk about significant health and safety issues. They will address problems caused by improper perspective. They will wonder about the future of education-based athletic programs in a world of decreasing funds for schools and increasing distractions from society.

But as sure as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow, I’m just as sure that this weekend’s crowd includes at least several individuals who will tackle today’s and tomorrow’s problems, and solve many of them. In this generation of women in sports leadership are the genuine leaders who will assure school sports is as alive and well for the next generation of girls and women as it has been for this current generation.

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.