Lacrosse Leads Again

November 13, 2012

US Lacrosse is once again a voice of reason in the sometimes irrational world of amateur sports.  Following up its Oct. 30, 2011 Position Statement cautioning against premature sports specialization (see March 6, 2012 blog), US Lacrosse issued on Oct. 18, 2012 the following statement on recruiting:

“US Lacrosse shares the concern of many lacrosse players, parents and coaches that the college recruiting process is not structured or timed in the best interests of high school student-athletes.  A growing number of private clubs and recruiting events – which operate throughout the calendar year and whose motivation remains in question – have created a confusing landscape for young players, who are being encouraged to specialize in lacrosse.

“An increasing number of young student-athletes are choosing to forego a well-rounded high school experience based on unrealistic expectations and misperceptions about playing college lacrosse.  Parents are being led to believe that college coaches are only looking at children who play year-round lacrosse for “elite” club programs and attend multiple, expensive recruiting events held during the summertime and the school year.

“Recruiting camps and tournaments for players as young as age 14, particularly those events that conflict with school or occur outside of the traditional lacrosse season, threaten the well-being of student-athletes with incidents of injury and burnout.  This intense recruiting culture also has eroded the work-life balance of college coaches.

“US Lacrosse will continue to work with the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) and Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) to provide the information, resources and leadership necessary to enable high school student-athletes and their parents to make the best decisions about their lacrosse experience.

“US lacrosse also encourages men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse coaches to exert their considerable influence to lead reform of the NCAA recruiting calendar, limit the age at which student-athletes begin the recruiting process, and agree not to attend or participate in recruiting events that infringe on the academic calendar of student-athletes.”

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.