November 11, 2011

Not too long ago there was a television commercial that depicted a huge jumbo jet taking off.  Then the pilot spoke about what it takes to lift such a large load off the ground.

The pilot said that to get such a huge weight off the ground you don’t go with the wind.  You go against it.  He said, “What pushes against us, lifts us up.”

There is no question that this is the recent story for the MHSAA which, momentarily in 2008, was knocked off balance by an adverse judgment by a federal court.  In many respects, the MHSAA is stronger – financially and in other ways – because of 2008.  The bad times made us better.

I’m hoping we will be able to say the same about local school sports generally a few years from now.  That these bad times made us better.  That today’s headwinds gave us the lift we needed to reach new and improved heights in school-based sports.

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.