Our Job

January 29, 2013

When I’m asked to describe the MHSAA’s job in a three-second sound bite, I say:  “Our job is to protect and promote educational athletics.”

Give me three seconds longer and I’ll say: “Our job is to protect and promote the values and value of student-centered, school-sponsored sports.”

Give me three seconds longer and I’ll add “. . . by raising standards for, and increasing participation in, educational athletics.”

And give me time to complete the thought and I’ll add that we do this through:

    • training for coaches, officials and athletic directors;
    • tournaments that keep sportsmanship levels high and both expenses and health risks low; and
    • telling the story to these groups: students and parents, school personnel, and the media and public.

We provide training and tournaments, and we tell the story of school-based sports.

That’s the job.  And it’s how we judge the “good idea du jour” that bombards our office.  We can’t do everything.  To do so would not be doing our job well.

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.