Long Days

September 20, 2016

When I read, I prefer three types of literature:

  1. Fun, fast fiction – so I can read more than one page before I fall asleep at night.

  2. Well written, lively biographies of historical figures, especially in American history.

  3. Articles and essays about space.

The pieces about space almost always have the effect of putting my world in humble perspective.

For example, this summer astronomers in Chile discovered Planet HD 131399Ab. It’s 320 light years from Earth, in the constellation Centaurus.

This planet is unlike any other in the known world. It has three suns. And the planet takes 600 of our Earth years to orbit its main sun once.

One day on Planet HD 131399Ab is like 600 years on Earth.

So, if you think you’ve had some long days recently, think again. Ponder Planet HD 131399Ab and its nearly 5 million-hour day.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com 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.