Taking Back Their Game

December 15, 2017

Editor's Note: This blog originally was posted August 30, 2011, and the message still rings true today.

Grayling High School’s Rich Moffitt is one of our many fine high school basketball coaches, and a good portion of the heart and soul behind the MHSAA/BCAM “Reaching Higher” experience for our state’s students aspiring to play college basketball. Rich shared with us a recent article in Basketball Times written by Billy Reed, a long-time basketball writer for the Louisville Courier-JournalLexington Herald-Leader and Sports Illustrated. In this piece Reed urges high school basketball coaches to take back their game from the corrupting influences of street agents and summer coaches. He writes:

“I’d like to see the high school coaches publicly challenge university presidents to stop sacrificing academic integrity on the altar of the almighty sports dollar. I’d like to see them petition the NCAA to do everything possible to rid college football and basketball of the slimy street agents, summer coaches, pimps, hustlers and con artists who undermine the authority of their high school coaches and teachers.

“I’d like them to urge the NCAA to start running its own summer games instead of leaving it to the shoe companies and NBA stars, and I’d like to see them work with their state high school athletic associations to adopt rules stipulating that only certified high school coaches can coach summer teams.

“I’d also like to see the high school coaches rededicate themselves to teaching humility, civility and respect for the opposition, the public and the media instead of letting young superstars grow into rude, selfish, egotistical adults who think the same rules that apply to the rest of society don’t apply to them.”

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.