Guild and Guide

December 2, 2016

Today is the first meeting of the full Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council of the 2016-17 school year. This is the meeting that tees up some of the topics for action by the Council in March and May.

Posted on the meeting room wall will be banners that remind Council members of the over-arching topics previously identified for 2016-17:

    • Define and Defend Educational Athletics
  • Promote and Protect Participant Health and Safety

  • Serve and Support Junior High/Middle School Programs

  • Recruit and Retain Contest Officials

If we are to make any headway on these topics during this school year and beyond, then we must see the MHSAA’s role is to be both a guild and a guide.

On my bucket list for personal travel is a trip to the mountains of Peru where for a week my wife will weave and I will hike. She will be with a guild that allows her to learn more about her craft, while I’ll be on a high altitude trail to Machu Picchu with a guide that keeps me from getting lost or discouraged.

In similar ways, the MHSAA must be an organization that provides opportunities for people to learn the art of athletic administration and then both points the way and steadies the step of coaches and administrators. We must help new officials get started and stay with it. We must aid and direct team captains and other student leaders.

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.