New Beginnings

August 30, 2016

The Michigan High School Athletic Association office experienced an unusual amount of mobility this summer:

  • Gina Mazzolini retired after nearly a quarter-century on the MHSAA staff, with special attention to skiing, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, international students and interstate sanctioning.

  • Andi Osters was promoted to assistant director.

  • Dan Hutcheson joined the staff as assistant director.

  • Jeremy Sampson joined the staff in a tournament promotion, ticketing and marketing capacity.

  • We played musical chairs with offices: John Johnson, Andy Frushour, Andi Osters, Geoff Kimmerly, Kathy Westdorp and Cole Malatinsky all have a change of scenery or surroundings.

So we have some new faces, and some “old” faces in new places at the MHSAA office.

During all these transitions, I discovered I was less jealous of Gina’s retirement than I was of the new beginnings for Andi, Jeremy and Dan. Their new energy renews my own for so much that we hope to accomplish together in 2016-17.

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.