One More Call

November 23, 2011

This blog continues with lessons learned on my highly motivating but sometimes hot seat at the MHSAA.  It’s Lesson No. 4:  Make one more call.

Not 100 percent of the time, but well over 50 percent of the time, if I had made one more call before making or communicating a tough decision, either the decision would have been different or, more often, the decision would have been received better.

Obviously there are limits to this. There always could be one more call.  But it has become a “Roberts Rule of Order” anyway to make one more call. For I can trace an inordinate percentage of wrong decisions, or bad reactions to correct decisions, to not making one more call.

More often than not on difficult decisions, I work in tandem with other MHSAA staff and especially Associate Director Tom Rashid who now routinely makes that one more call. It has improved both our decisions and communications.

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.