In Search of a Quarterback

October 6, 2011

As America works and wanders its way through the messiness of choosing its presidential candidates, I look around for ones that I wish were available, and I find the choices quite limited and disappointing.  Seems I’ve always tended to favor those who were least electable.

One of those “losers” of years gone by was Jack Kemp who, ironic for the times we now live in, was considered a little too conservative for the national ticket.

Actually, Kemp – the former NFL quarterback, U.S. Congressman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the first President Bush – appears more balanced and bright than any in the field of candidates the Republican Party will offer this time around.

Kemp’s platform circa 1992 was to be “optimistic, inclusive and ready for change.”  That was his personal style and his prescription for America.

I wish we’d have that choice today for quarterbacking our nation.

But regardless, his approach – “optimistic, inclusive and ready for change” – remains a perfect prescription for organizational leaders, including those who are responsible for schools and school sports.

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.