November 23, 2011

I know many of us crave the opportunity to work without distractions and to focus on a problem or project without interruptions.  It’s why I seek a week alone at my cottage to read, write and rehearse.  It’s my “sabbatical.”

But having said that about the significant benefits of solitude, I nevertheless must state that the sixth and final lesson in this series of blogs is this:  The job is the interruptions.

I brought this lesson to the MHSAA from previous employment and it resonates truer today than ever.

The job is the call from the athletic director, coach or official who has a question.  The job is the call from the superintendent, principal or parent with a concern.

The job is the knock on the door from another staff member with a difficult question from a constituent, or even a personal issue that’s important to them.

It’s often been when I’ve treated the call or knock as nuisance, given it inadequate time or attention, that the little interruption grew into a bigger problem.

The job is the interruptions.  If there were none, we wouldn’t be needed.  There would be no job.

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.