Opportunities Abound

February 2, 2018

This weekend – for the 23rd time – the Michigan High School Athletic Association will host its Women in Sports Leadership Conference. The event is Feb. 4 and 5 at Crowne Plaza Lansing West.

Featured speakers are USA National Volleyball Team member Alisha Glass, who starred at Leland High School; University of Michigan’s Carol Hutchins, the winningest coach in NCAA softball history; and Michigan State University Women’s Volleyball Coach Cathy George, who is just off a season when the Spartans reached the NCAA Elite Eight.

But the real juice for this inspiring event is the energy of 550 students and the investment of our schools’ coaches and administrators to facilitate the attendance of these students.

Students will learn leadership skills for today and be exposed to a variety of career opportunities in athletics. Sports in general and school sports in particular continue to have far fewer female contest officials, coaches, administrators and athletic trainers than we need. This weekend’s program is another effort to inspire change.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com 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.