Projects That Matter

December 1, 2015

The white board that confronts me every day in my office lists a lot of things I’d like the MHSAA to get done. Our challenge is to choose to do those projects that are large enough to matter, yet small enough to accomplish.

Step by step, we have attempted, for example, new goals for coaches education and new initiatives for concussion care, as well as new means of communicating the message of educational athletics which I have discussed less as I’ve addressed the other projects more in recent months.

Managing the message of school-sponsored, student-centered sports in the midst of a constant blizzard of communications from youth, college and professional sports, is as important as anything we do.

We are particularly pleased with “This Week in High School Sports” which John Johnson prepares and Second Half by MHSAA which Geoff Kimmerly manages. Positive news reflecting the purpose and values of educational athletics in Michigan. These projects matter.

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.