Push Pause

May 2, 2017

For the past 15 months, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has focused more of its precious resources of time and money on these four priorities:

  • Define and Defend Educational Athletics

  • Promote Participant Health and Safety

  • Serve and Support Junior High/Middle School Programs

  • Recruit and Retain Contest Officials

These topics were brought into focus by making time for the MHSAA staff and Representative Council to pause from the frenetic pace of everyday duties to talk about constituents’ current needs and to think about the next big things that are just down the road and perhaps around a metaphorical corner.

It is time to ignore the tyranny of the urgent, push “pause,” and engage the MHSAA staff and Representative Council once again in a time of research into and reflection about the current and near-future needs and wants of the constituents they serve. This discussion could lead anywhere, but these topics will get things started:

  • What’s next for kids that could/should involve us – e.g., Robotics? E-Games? Water Polo? Girls Field Hockey? Boys Volleyball? Girls Flag Football? Road Racing? Snowboarding? Weightlifting?

  • What’s our role with respect to special programming for students with cognitive or physical disabilities?

  • If given a windfall, how would we best spend $50,000? $250,000? $500,000?

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.