Late in January I had the chore – that’s what I was expecting it to be, anyway – of co-chairing the strategic planning process of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Turned out that chore was a blessing that has helped refuel my faith in and reignite my fire for youth sports.
The people assembled in Indianapolis represented all eight geographic sections of the country. There were both CEOs and assistant directors of state high school associations. They were young and old, male and female, black and white.
When I asked these people what high school sports stands for, they said:
- “a different set of values than non-school sports.”
- “an emphasis on development of the whole child.”
They said, “high school sports develops multiple interests and talents in a safe and sportsmanlike environment.” They used words like “amateur” and “educational” and “healthy.”
These colleagues from across the country had the same thoughts we have; and they used the very same words we’ve been using in Michigan. Turns out, we’re not crazy!
Our ideals are not different in Michigan. What occasionally may be different is our commitment to them.
We’re not out of date or out of step in Michigan. What sometimes may be unique is our courage to act on our beliefs. We’re in sync in Michigan; our beliefs and our actions align in Michigan. That’s what provides leaders who last, leaders who can stick with it and survive tough situations.
Difficult times reveal durable leaders. And we are bringing to school sports in Michigan the durable leadership that these difficult times require.