Mountaintop Experience

May 15, 2018

Thinking that I’m younger than my almost 70 years, many people assume that I have another job lined up after my retirement in August. My response has been that if I needed or wanted to work full time, I would not leave the employment of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. It’s the best job – at least for me – in America.

Strong staff, supportive board, comfortable conditions, good benefits and – most of all – great mission. I’ve been at the top of the mountain; why would I ever go anywhere else?

And speaking of mountains ...

I depart for Peru next week to hike the Inca Trail. It’s not a long trek – 31 miles over four days – but there’s thousands of feet of up and down to deal with at very high altitude.

For a brief time I’ll be trading one mountaintop experience – serving the MHSAA – for another – hiking to Machu Picchu.

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.