Sport Sponsorship Should Be Up

March 25, 2016

MHSAA member schools plan to sponsor significantly more sports during 2016-17 than they indicated a year ago they would sponsor in 2015-16.

As of March 8, with only one more member school than at the same time in 2015-16:

  • Lower Peninsula Track & Field expects 16 more boys teams and 12 more girls teams next year than this year.

  • Bowling anticipates 15 more boys teams and 11 more girls teams.

  • In LP Golf, the anticipated increase is 12 girls teams, but a decline of 5 boys teams.

  • In LP Cross Country, the growth is projected to be 7 teams for each gender.

  • Girls Competitive Cheer and Girls Volleyball each expect 5 more teams next year; both Boys Lacrosse and Girls Lacrosse plan on 4 more teams; in skiing, it’s 5 more girls teams and 3 more boys teams; in LP Soccer it’s 4 additional boys teams and 2 additional girls teams. Baseball may be up 4 schools, while girls softball expects no change. Football expects a net gain of 4 schools; in Basketball, boys may grow by 2 schools, and no change is the current projection for girls.

  • In LP Tennis, girls now expect a 1-team decline; but boys could continue its dramatic slide, down another 9 schools next year.

The overall theme may be that, no matter how much schools are struggling for resources and resorting to outside funding, they value the high school brand of sports. They see school sports as a magnet for attracting students and an igniter of positive school and community spirit. In short, sports make most schools better.

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.