No Further Review

December 15, 2015

The rise of instant replay came with the hope if not the promise that errors by officials could and would be corrected. Now we know those expectations are not being realized.

In many cases this fall, we have watched college and professional football instant replay officials stand by helplessly because the rules of replay would not permit them to change the call on the field. In many other cases, we have watched instant replay officials make wrong calls from the replay booth.

We have always known that the high school level would not be able to perform extensive instant replay review – we don’t have the number and quality of camera angles at our games to judge the plays. But now we know that the existence of such technology does not assure the accuracy of decision-making.

So, let the so-called higher levels interrupt and prolong their games with questionable procedures that are resulting in as much acrimony as accuracy. Turns out that on this matter, the high school level is lucky to lack the resources of the college and professional game. For us, there’s no need for further review of further review.

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.