Reluctant Leadership

March 15, 2016

Years ago I was asked my opinion about who should become the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My response was that it should be no person who is seeking the job. It was and remains my belief that, in ministry, the person should not seek the job; the job should seek the person.

I think this should also apply to the presidency of the United States.

It’s only mid-March, and I’m already sick and tired of campaign rhetoric and the ridiculously low behavior of candidates for what’s supposed to be our nation’s highest office.

I am looking for humility; and I think, perhaps, that any person who seeks the presidency probably lacks the humility to be the person we need in that office.

I want both a freer and fairer society, led by humble servants within public and private institutions. I want servant-leaders with character more than charisma.

I want a society where individuals with drive and discipline take responsibility for making things better at home and in their neighborhoods, communities and states. And where one of these unsuspecting persons, with lots of grit but little guile, gets drafted to lead our country, and very reluctantly accepts.

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.