Lacrosse Logic

March 6, 2012

Sometimes the administrators of school sports will be heard to say, “Is ours the only sport program that cares about kids’ well-being?”  Or, “Are we the only folks willing to both make and enforce rules to protect the program and its participants?”

So, there are feelings of vindication and validation when we read about other sports programs which see and do some things somewhat our way.  And it appears US Lacrosse is one of those groups.  Here’s some of what is included in its Oct. 30, 2011 Position Statement:  “Boys’ and Girls’ Youth Lacrosse Participation Recommendations.”

“1. Athletes at all level of play should have 1-2 days off per week from competitive athletics and training to allow for recovery.
“2. Athletes at the U-9, U-11, U-13 and U-15 level should have at least 2-3 months away from sport specific training and competition during the year.
“3. Athletes at the U-9, U-11, U-13 and U-15 level should play on only one lacrosse team during a season.  If an athlete is playing on more than one team in the same season, they should not participate for more than 16-20 hours per week.”
“6. Encourage participation in multiple sports throughout the year and avoid sports specialization before the U-15 age group (high school).  Those athletes who choose to specialize in the sport of lacrosse in high school will need to take extra precaution with regard to overuse injuries and burnout.  While there may be potential benefits to extra training, the risks of becoming one-dimensional at a young age needs to be evaluated on a seasonal basis.  Furthermore, specialization does not guarantee improved play or college acceptance and only an estimated 5 percent of high school senior athletes progress to play some form of collegiate sports.  Some researchers believe there is a benefit to multiple sport participation throughout high school.”

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.