Not Acting Like Grownups

December 26, 2015

Take a look at Fox Sports Detroit today, the second of two days replaying the 2015 MHSAA 11-Player Football Finals at Ford Field.

What I’d like you to see – what I’m most proud of – is the behavior of the players.

Score a touchdown? Then hand the ball to the official, without any childish end zone dancing.

Sack the quarterback? Then head back to the huddle, without any ridiculous pointing and prancing.

So different from the professional game.

But sadly, some of that bad behavior is settling to the college level; and sometimes, there’s even a hint of it in our high school games.

But for now, the players behaving most maturely are the youngest, and behaving least maturely are the oldest.

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.