Generations of Girls Tournaments

June 22, 2012

The MHSAA will have its “40th Anniversaries” for seven girls sports tournaments during the next three school years, but they are not our longest running girls tournaments.

The earliest MHSAA tournament for girls was regional in scope for the sport of alpine skiing – almost 60 years ago – in the winter of the 1953-54 school year.  Two regional meets were held for girls, and two for boys.  This continued for 21 consecutive years.

The first statewide MHSAA Ski Meet was held in Marquette in early 1975, the culminating event for a season during which the sport was sponsored for girls by 63 schools and for boys by 68 schools.

The first statewide MHSAA tournament for girls in any sport was held Jan. 12, 1972 in the sport of gymnastics.  Of 52 schools sponsoring girls gymnastics at that time, 33 had girls qualify for and participate in the meet, and 30 schools scored in six different events (today girls gymnastics has just four events; trampoline and tumbling no longer are contested).

During the 1972-73 school year, the MHSAA sponsored and conducted girls tournaments in tennis, swimming & diving, golf and track & field.  The first MHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament occurred the following school year, 1973-74; girls softball followed in the 1974-75 school year; and girls volleyball followed in the 1975-76 school year.

The girls who played in these first tournaments are now women in their mid- to late-fifties; and some will be rooting for their granddaughters in one of the 14 MHSAA tournaments now conducted for girls.

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.