Hard Copy

January 31, 2017

It's probably a sign of my age and stage in life, but I cannot get in any habit of consuming information by podcasts. If I want to absorb facts, figures and ideas that I can retain for later use, I have to receive that information in writing and be free to highlight phrases and make notes in the margins of that document.

I'm so committed to or conditioned by this process that I even need to print online articles so I can take my pen to the text to help me embrace the author's message or mold it into mine. I remain an ardent advocate for the medium of printed words.

I'm apt to remember portions of long-form printed pieces much longer than texts and tweets; and if a printed piece is very good, or at least speaks to me, I develop a relationship with it through my underlining and notes, and it stays with me longer than audio and even video media.

My preferences are demonstrated in the continuing commitment the Michigan High School Athletic Association has made to providing printed souvenir programs at the finals for most of its postseason tournaments as well as to a glossy, issues-oriented magazine (benchmarks) and hard-copy printed curriculum for our in-person coaches education program (CAP) when many of its counterpart organizations across the US have moved to electronic alternatives for these services.

I'm all for reducing the use and waste of paper for environmental reasons; but for educational purposes, print on paper still has a place in the modern world of communications clutter. Perhaps a never more important place.

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.