Wakeup Call

January 8, 2016

For many years we have observed and heard about the negative effect of non-school basketball on the high school game – the emphasis on offense more than defense, competition more than practice, fast-breaks more than fundamentals, etc.

It has also been widely reported that the atmosphere surrounding non-school basketball feeds undue influence and athletic-related transfers that trouble high school basketball and tarnish the trophies of some of the teams advancing in MHSAA tournaments.

We also observe that an increasing number of high school games are being arranged in a format that is typical of non-school basketball. It’s a steady stream of games from early morning to late at night, arranged by outside entities who spare local high school athletic directors the work of administering the game, but who retain all of the revenue for themselves, sharing none with schools.

The promoters say they don’t need to provide revenue to the school because they are providing a platform for the players. So, as with non-school basketball, it’s becoming less about school and team and more about a few star players and the next level.

This is not really school-sponsored, educational athletics. It’s becoming a recruiting service.

Schools better wake up, and take back their program!

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.