Ideas, Not Events

November 17, 2015

U.S. Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover is credited with the statement, “Average minds discuss events, while great minds discuss ideas.” Perhaps that’s so.

In any event, what I would like to see from MHSAA sport committees is less talk about events of the past and more time discussing ideas for the future. Less time on MHSAA tournament details and more time on the sport itself, and particularly on ideas that will make the sport not just safer, but also healthier for participants with respect to its demands in-season and out.

Less focus on results, and more attention to process. Day in and day out, how does the sport help and how might it hurt the student in a holistic sense, seeing the child not just as an athlete but also as a student and a person with activity interests beyond sports?

What are the ideas we need to develop and advance that will more assuredly cause student-athletes to develop habits for a healthier life precisely because they participated in school sports?

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.