The Safe Play Game Plan

April 21, 2015

On Feb. 10, bills were introduced into both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, together called the “Safe Play Act,” which addresses three of the four health and safety “H’s” described in my last posting: Heat, Hearts and Heads.
For each of these topics, the federal legislation would mandate that the director of the Centers for Disease Control develop educational material and that each state disseminate that material.
For the heat and humidity management topic, the legislation states that schools will be required to adopt policies very much like the “MHSAA Model Policy to Manage Heat and Humidity” which the MHSAA adopted in March of 2013.
For both the heart and heat topics, schools will be required to have and to practice emergency action plans like we have been promoting in the past and will be distributing to schools this summer.
For the head section, the legislation would amend Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and would eliminate federal funding to states and to schools which fail to educate their constituents or fail to support students who are recovering from concussions. This support would require multi-disciplinary concussion management teams that would include medical personnel, parents and others to provide academic accommodations for students recovering from concussions that are similar to the accommodations that are already required of schools for students with disabilities or handicaps.
This legislation would require return-to-play protocols similar to what we have in Michigan, and the legislation would also require reporting and record-keeping that is beyond what occurs in most places.
This proposed federal legislation demonstrates two things. First, that we have been on target in Michigan with our four Hs – it’s like they read our playbook of priorities before drafting this federal legislation.
This proposed federal legislation also demonstrates that we still have some work to do.

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.