The Western Way

September 29, 2015

When he was in elementary school, my younger son Luke often traveled with me on MHSAA business. Today, Luke is living in Shanghai, China, where he is the principal of an elementary school for Chinese children.

The parents of these Chinese children want their youngster (it’s usually an only child) educated in the western way so the child can get into a western high school and college.

Those parents want their children speaking English. But much more than that, they want their children thinking critically and creatively. And they want their children engaging in extracurricular programs that teach teamwork and leadership.

Those parents want the kind of schools we operate in Michigan. They want the kind of programs we offer here.

We educate the whole child; and the whole world wants what we do.

Not only that – unlike most of the rest of the world, we not only educate the whole child, we educate every child. Most other countries don’t even try.

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.