Model Education

December 13, 2013

The athletic classroom is at least as pregnant with teachable moments as any other classroom of our comprehensive secondary schools.

I believe this so strongly that there is a tendency to overstate this truth; but if we include non-athletic activities like speech, music, debate and drama, I am even more certain it is true.

It is true in large part because nowhere in education will one find it to the degree we do in school activities that teachers are teaching what they want to teach to students who are learning what they want to learn, and both teachers and learners are willing to work hour after hour on their own time, even after the so-called “school day,” to make sure that everything that can be taught is taught and everything that can be learned is learned.

This is not a distraction from the educational mission of schools. It is a model of what more of education should be. And we shouldn’t hesitate to say so. Nor should we hesitate any longer to provide these model programs for younger grade levels.

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.