It’s Change, Not Status

January 5, 2016

When I see a professional sports team install a scoreboard that is more expensive than the total of the interscholastic athletic budgets of the two dozen high schools closest to that stadium, I gripe.

When I see a half-dozen medical professionals scamper out to attend to an injured college football player, and then watch a local high school junior varsity soccer game where no medical professional is present, I grieve.

But in spite of these dispiriting moments, I never wish that my life’s work had been at those higher levels. Long ago I was impressed by the statement that we should measure impact by change, not by status.

It is at the school sports level, much more than at so-called higher levels, that lives are changed. No glitz. No glamour. Just huge results, with limited resources.

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.