Help Wanted

November 22, 2011

You probably wouldn’t be much attracted to a “Help Wanted” posting in the classified ads of your local newspaper that read:

Help Wanted!
Long hours. Late nights.  Low pay.
Frequent criticism.

Almost every paid or volunteer position associated with local school sports would fit that description.

And yet, legions of people enlist in service to school sports each and every year.

Many do so because their own kids are involved as participants. Many others do it “to give back” to a program that provided them so many benefits as a participant years before.

I commend to your reading the Winter 2011-12 issue of benchmarks now online which features a very few of the very many people who have answered this “Help Wanted” call.  We are thankful for them all.

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.