Special Delivery

February 23, 2016

If there is one month of the year that demonstrates the difference in the MHSAA today compared to a generation ago, it is February.

  • This is the month when 775 people, including more than 700 students, gathered for the MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference in Lansing. This year’s was the 22nd edition of the conference.

  • This is the month when the 120 finalists and 32 recipients of the 2016 MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award are announced. This is the program’s 27th year, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

  • This is the month when MHSAA staff is on the road to visit finalists for “Battle of the Fans V,” and thousands of students vote for their favorite on social media, and the MHSAA Student Advisory Council finalizes the selection of this year’s top cheering section.

For most of its history, the MHSAA worked with school personnel who then interacted with students. Today, the MHSAA delivers much more than its postseason tournaments directly to student-athletes, including captains clinics and sportsmanship summits all year round.

While this work must never displace from our top priority the development and delivery of eligibility competition standards that are safe and sound for an educational environment, these direct interactions inform the rules making process in very positive ways.

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.