It’s a Blizzard

March 18, 2015

Like the good people in Boston and other eastern cities and towns who couldn’t find anywhere to put all the snow they were getting this past winter, those in charge of school sports can’t find anywhere to put all the advice and expertise pouring down on us. We are well beyond the tipping point between too little and too much information regarding concussions.

In one stack before me are different descriptions of concussion signs and symptoms. I could go with a list as short as five symptoms or as long as 15.

In a second stack before me are different sideline detection solutions – tests that take 20 seconds to more than 20 minutes, some that require annual preliminary testing and others that do not.

In a third stack are a variety of return-to-play or return-to-learn protocols, ranging from a half-dozen steps to more than twice that number.

When I read that the National Football League, with all of its resources, was “overwhelmed by all of the expert opinion right now,” I was not comforted.
We have to cut through the clutter and provide our constituents clear and concise recommendations for the efficient education of coaches, student-athletes, parents and others; for electronic sideline detection solutions that are not only quick and effective in assessing injuries but also provide immediate reports and permanent records of concussions; and for protocols that place return to play well behind return to practice and further behind return to learn.

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.