Misspent Money

July 16, 2014

It is not news to us, but it makes more waves when others report it.

William Hageman of the Chicago Tribune reported last month on a study from Utah State University’s Families in Sport Lab that found “the more money parents spend on youth sports, the more likely their kids are to lose interest.”

A Utah State researcher explains the connection: “The more money folks are investing, the higher pressure kids are perceiving. More pressure means less enjoyment. As kids enjoy sports less, their motivation goes down.”

Hageman exposes the folly of parents’ justification for their financial outlay – increasing their child’s chances for a college scholarship. Hageman says “a look at the numbers shows they (parents) may be deluding themselves.”

He cites NCAA statistics that only two percent of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships; and we have to add that many of those are not “full-rides.” The average scholarship covers less than half the cost of an in-state college education for one academic year.

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.