Teaming Up

February 21, 2012

Try as I might, and no matter how much I practiced, I never became comfortable going to my left as a high school basketball player. I feel the same way about some of this job I have today.

If I’m asked a question about student eligibility, my response is usually quick and confident. The topic is in my wheelhouse, my comfort zone, my right hand.

But when I need to make a decision about information technology, a subject that didn’t exist when I started in this work, I need much more time and I’m more tentative with my answers. And it feels like I’m dribbling with my left hand.

Unfortunately, as time goes by, I’m faced with more questions that are in my area of weakness than my area of strength. It’s just the way the world works today, with everything tied into or revolving around technology.

Fortunately, we’ve assembled a team at the MHSAA office that includes staff for whom technology is not a thing. It just is. Like the air they breathe. They are as instinctive with their advice about technology as I am about the transfer rule.

Gratefully, there’s room for both of us in a modern enterprise serving traditional values.

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.