No Place They Would Rather Be

April 24, 2018

Seven years ago, the Michigan High School Athletic Association and its Student Advisory Council began the MHSAA’s trademarked “Battle of the Fans.” That was 2012.

Buchanan High School has been a contestant five times, a finalist four times and the winner twice ... in 2013 and again this year.

Many of us complain of all that competes for attention of students and spectators. But at Buchanan, the culture is different. And it’s not an accident. Being involved in school and attending school events is the thing to do. By design.

Starting with a few individuals with vision and energy, student engagement has become the norm. Middle school students saw this in 2013. They were invited to be a part of it then; and now they are leading the effort at Buchanan High School.

At Buchanan, attending athletic events is the thing to do – and not just boys sports or winter sports. To attend events, to cheer loudly and to actually think and talk about what good sportsmanship looks like has become a year-round thing.

Buchanan High School and the other two finalists for 2018, Boyne City High School and Petoskey High School – and all the BOTF applicants, are helping to define and defend educational athletics.

View Buchanan’s application video for the 2018 Battle of the Fans

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.