We Need A Picture

December 18, 2012

One of our family traditions is to start and complete a new puzzle each Thanksgiving Day.  This past year’s 1,000-piece project tested our guests’ perseverance and, technically, it wasn’t completed on Thanksgiving, but just after 1 a.m. on the next day with only two of the original 16 guests still on task.

As is customary, the cover of the box in which the puzzle came provided a picture of the finished work.  Those working the puzzle kept passing the box top around to get closer looks at the specific portions of the puzzle that had their attention.

At one point my son mentioned how incredibly difficult it would be to complete a complicated puzzle without any picture.

Which caused me to consider that trying to solve any puzzle – any problem – is made almost impossibly difficult without a clear picture of what the solution should look like.  To put together the pieces of the solution to a problem requires at least some vision of the solution.

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.