On Purpose

December 5, 2014

There is a difference between solving problems and creating a future.
Of course, we must solve problems. But it is imperative that we do so in terms of the future we want and are willing to work for.
Therefore, we need to address every day and every decision it presents by thinking how our actions today will make tomorrow different, and how tomorrow’s difference moves us toward the future we envision.
As individual persons, as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, as employers and employees, as administrators and coaches and student-athletes, what do we want our future to be like, and how does each decision and action enhance the possibilities for that outcome? 
Answering those questions, and acting on those answers ... well, that’s living a purposeful life.

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.