Marriage Reflections

October 18, 2013

Recently, and for the first time, I drew parallels between marriage and the hiring of staff. It occurred when a gray-haired, ponytailed officiant in the Phoenix foothills exhorted the wedding couple to be “the mirror of their partner’s best values.”

Hearing this, I measured myself against the best values of my own wife of 41 ½ years, thinking how much stronger it could make our marriage and my character if, in fact, I actually did reflect the best of my bride.
And then my mind wandered to one of my current preoccupations - completing the selection of the MHSAA’s newest administrative staff member.

We want our newest staff person to be everything we need and want, immediately filling every hole and completing our wish list. Frankly, that’s impossible.

But, the one thing I am sure we must have and can have is a person who mirrors the MHSAA’s best values – an individual who reflects the core values of school-sponsored, student-centered sports and of the MHSAA on its best days as it serves and supports educational athletics.

And just as it’s not lethally late for a husband in his fifth decade of marriage to work harder to reflect his wife’s best values, neither is it too tardy for veterans of the MHSAA staff to focus on our reflection of the best values of school sports and the organization that has served educational athletics for ten decades.

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.