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Why do scandals like Michigan State and Olympic Gymnastics happen?

How is it that incidents like the Michigan State or the  Olympic gymnastics scandals happen?

Their reason “WHY” is broken.

Their adults have forgotten why they are there. The value system and the priority of why they matter are broken.

Both can be fixed. Both must be fixed.

Any athletic or academic department, no matter the level, must have their why on the marquee. It must be on the sleeve, on the chest, and on the agreement. “This” is why we are here. “This” is why it matters. “This” is the first thing.

How about this? Decide what the first thing is, and keep it first.

If the thing is academics, say it. If the thing is winning, say it. If the thing is creating positive experiences, a community of intelligent, loving people, or creating a nation of decent human beings, say it. If faith matters, it must be constant. If the bottom line matters, it must be constant. The confusion of why leads to a lack of focus, direction, or purpose. The confusion leads to a lack of accountability. We can fix this.

Decide what the why is. Then, say it. Then, repeat it. Done. If actions do not confirm this, change the actions to match the why. If your actions do not match where you said you need to go, you’re allowed to change directions. You are required to change directions.

If the young people are not following direction, change the direction. If academics are the focus, and actions do not match the focus, point to the focus. Point to the North Star. Say, THAT is where we are going. I said we. The adults and the young people. Together, they must go.

If the adults aren’t leading them to the place they promised to, the young people have the right to say so. THIS is not where you said we would go. THIS is not how you said we were going to get there. If they aren’t going anywhere, say so. Why aren’t we moving?

All of this starts at the top. The signatures on the paycheck. The keyholders. The people who turn on the lights. The people who write agreements. They must be clear about why they are there. To lead. To remind. To redirect. To applaud actions. To correct misdirection. To stand loudly in the light for those wandering in the dark. If the rest do not know who is leading, or where to go, to get right, all is lost. Everyone is lost.

Michigan State is an institute of higher learning.  Intelligence, facts, and wisdom should be simple. The Spartans can say who they are and then redirect anyone who wants or claims to be there for the right reasons. They can celebrate those in the right. They can remove those in the wrong. If winning is the thing, say so. If the university is about academics, say so. If it is about the business of either, say so. Pretty simple.

The US Olympic team needs to state why it exists. Is it the best in us? Is it the shell for money makers and check cashers? Is it for the young people, old people, or the best people of any age? Is it the best this nation has to offer?

Ask why. Why are you here? The answers should open eyes. The question is simple. So are the answers.

I hope the leaders have a great answer. We know that the young people need answers. We know that they need leaders.

Keep the first thing first.

 

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Its only just a game.

It is only just a game.

I said it. Its only just a game.

When caught up in the emotion of the moment, it is sometimes easy to forget that it is just a game. Even if it your job, it is still just a game. Even if it’s the most important game of the season that week. Or that season. Or that career.  It is only just a game.

If you are in little league, as a coach, parent, fan, official, or player, it is just a game. It is not going to determine your draft status, scholarship offer, financial tax bracket, or your reputation. It is just a game. It simply isn’t. Go to class. Have some laughs. Learn how to make friends. Allow yourself to grow up. Enjoy the orange slices and juice boxes. Chase butterflies on the field, and turn your back to the play. Enjoy yourself. Parents, feed them. They are growing. That includes on the field and off. Coaches, be delicate. Important cargo on board.

If you are in middle school, it is just a game. It does not matter what the wins and losses amount to. It is just a game. It does not matter how many points Jr. scored against another 8th grader. Alabama does not care. Neither do the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Yankees, or Montreal Canadians. There are too many more games to be played to award you their time, money, or energy. Relax mom and dad, they will find out about your child when they are old enough. Go to class kids. Listen to music. Amaze your parents with how fast you are growing. Check on their class work parents. Ask them how their day went. Deliver them to high school with a smile coaches.

If you are in high school, it is still just a game. Everyone knows the numbers on the small percentage of athletes that move on to the next level. (3%) Everyone knows the numbers on the larger percentage of students who move to the next level. (65%) Everyone should know the number of parents whose behavior makes their young people unattractive to colleges. High school coaches who understand that its just a game might get asked to pack up and move up to college athletics. Parents can only hinder their young person from going. The way for them to help is to love them, cheer for them, and then hand them over to the game.

If you are in college, it is still just a game. You aren’t paid. It is not your job. (I know, this is the topic for another piece!)  One percent of college athletes go pro at all, and usually not for long. ONE PERCENT. If you are a college coach, it is still about the young people. Prepare them for life in the majority. Give them skills to succeed in life, and off the field. That is why they are there. To be prepared for life away from the game is the focus. The game is just added value. Added and valued experiences and knowledge. The disciplines learned, the socialization, the maturity of hard work, time management, dating, social media exposure, diet, exercise, and mental health maturation are all learned here. This is the coronation. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Understand that while the game may have been fuel for the journey, it is not the reason for the journey. Parents should be in release mode. Stand and applaud all that has been done, all that has been learned, and all that has been achieved. Coaches, deliver them into life with a smile. Enjoy your paycheck. Enjoy your exposure. Its still just a game.

Professionally, Its still just a game. While it is your job, it is not your life. Who you are is not what you do The game leaves you. The game ends. The crowd dwindles, and so does the payday. You resort back to your adolescent days. You have some goals still unfulfilled, and some reason to get out of bed daily. Athlete, player, coach, parent, or fan, it ultimately is a game that is taken way from you because it is just that. A game.

 

 

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Why are people so mean and rude?

Why are people so mean and rude?

It is a common thing to see, read, hear, or witness mean behavior. It should not be common. Online rudeness is so common that it has bled over into our offline lives. It is bordering on becoming the norm, and that simply needs to be corrected. Mean and rude cannot be the standard. Mean and rude must be identified, addressed, and corrected. It is a learned behavior, and can be unlearned.

Some will say that mean and rude are the same thing. I tend to think that rude is a lack of value of others, an unawareness of someone else’s feelings, and behavior (action and verbal) that is hurtful and disconnected. I believe that mean behavior is the purposeful and intended devaluing of another person. It has the direct and desired intent to hurt, harm, or cheapen the value of another person.  Both are wrong behaviors. Both can be adjusted.

Mean and rude appear in bullying, racism, sexism, and several other behaviors that allow the person to disconnect from someone else. It brings negative thoughts into action, and rarely serves for the higher standard of interaction. It is in the words of speeches used to spread hate, fear, and doubt. It is in the actions of those who are in pain themselves, a way to make their pain transfer to someone else, anyone else. It rarely does so, but that’s for another time.

To identify why people are mean or rude starts with asking why the pain, fear, and doubt exist. That seems to be a good discussion starting point. Behavior is a mirror to spirit, and meanness and rudeness are closely tied to the pain of the vehicle. The lashing out is a call to inner pain, HEAR ME, FEEL MY PAIN, and it can and should be addressed then by those present. Acknowledge the pain, question the pain, help in the healing. Who hurt you? Why are you mad? Does this help? What is the reason why? Ask. There may be an answer. There may also be a resolution. It is always a mirror.

Identifying the reason is crucial to knowing if this is rude (unaware/disconnected) or mean (intended/connected). To know if causing pain is the goal is helpful. Why are you doing this? Do you understand what you are doing? Often, it is mindful retribution for an act unknown to the person on the receiving end of the behavior. It can be an open call to remember the pain of the person involved. It most certainly requires someone pointing out what their behavior is, and whether it is appropriate or not. Tell them that it is not.

What often happens is that the adults in the room do not speak out when these behaviors are happening, or when these behaviors are witnessed. I say adults in the sense that maturity allows for people to identify when their actions are mean or rude, and that modifies the behavior. It is only when emotional maturity is missing in the behavior or the environment that allows it to be unchecked and unmonitored. That may be as much part of the problem as anything else. The lack of people to check and monitor the behavior. It is then allowed to grow, strengthen, and even prosper.

Here is a simple resolution. Love the mean and rude people. Be present. Pay attention. Love out loud. Care enough to tell them what you see. Tell them how you feel, and how the person they are attacking feels. Care enough to not allow the behavior to continue. Be present. Present allows for marking the behavior in its clear element. As it happens. Care enough to not allow the behavior to be a part of your presence. That is the simple resolution. Be present. Point out the behavior. Identify its purpose. Love forward.

This behavior needs air to exist. Do not let it in. Do not let it out. End it. Love will win. Love it away.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. Coach DP. A story of “WHY?”

LovePrints are powerful. When we recognize that these moments strengthen us for tough times, highlight the good times, and are the foundation for why we do what we do, we calm and able to move forward and up. This is a story of the “WHY?” This is a purpose. This is a miracle. This is a LovePrint.

 

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LovePrints. T’is the season, for the reason.

The reason for the season.

The season of giving.

The season of love in action.

The season to action in love.

No matter what words you use to acknowledge this time of year, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, or other, it is an act of love when said. It is an acknowledgement of someone else, their presence, their well-being, their life. It is an act of love out loud, and it is beautiful.

What makes this time year special is the constant reminder and reason to be better towards each other. It’s the acts of giving, the appreciative receiving of love and consideration, and the consistent thinking of others as we go along. Every gift is an act of love, and with each gift, two people exchange a piece of the other to take with them into their day. They are both better for it. That is the blessing. That is the gift.

I hope that you give and receive love in these days, and the next. I hope that your gifts are given and received with a smile, requires no receipt, and is appreciated. It is my wish that no one goes without something being put into their hands, or given from their hands. It would be wonderful if we all gave more, got more, and have enough.

Please do not forget smiles and hugs in these gifts. They are important and needed. Give and receive them freely in these days. They make us better. They make us stronger. They make us more loving. That is the purpose behind LovePrints. To cover one another in love, one act at a time. To cover ourselves so much in love that nothing else can stick. To act in love. To be love in action. To love out loud. To be love. To be loved.

No matter how you say it, or hear it, it is the season of love, and LovePrints.

I hope that you are sharing your LovePrints. I hope that you are being covered in them. That is why we are here. To love, and be loved.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and an amazing 2018 to you and yours. To us all, LOVE.

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Holiday Sale! LovePrints Merchandise! One week only!

https://estore.acreativeresource.com/loveprintsstore/

 

Welcome to the LovePrints Store with LovePrints branded merchandise to be used for teacher/coach appreciation, thank you’s, sports teams, family reunions, team bonding, school groups, and more! You can browse and order merchandise featuring the new logo.

LovePrints(TM), the logo, is  the positive engine to make Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Leaders, Mentors, Coaches, and young people aware of the power their love has on their community, team, school, home, family, church, and environment. Wearing or using LovePrints branded apparel and accessories allows you to Love Out Loud and be a part of this engine, while letting others know you provide a safe place for them to connect with a kindred soul.

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Sometimes, the ball field is a classroom. Who are we?

As coaches, we get these young people for hours a day, 6 days a week. We should know them. We have to know them. More importantly, we have to get them to know themselves. And their teammates. So, on some days, we should put the basketballs, baseballs, footballs, and equipment away to learn. On some days, the classroom is where you get better. On some days, the locker room is where you get better. On those days, we learn.

Today’s subject? History. They are all a part of our history. 15 young people.  20 young people. 50 young people. Their families are tied together in this American thing, this melting pot of travelers, wanderers, outcasts, survivors and winners. This pool of survivors, strangers, families, and royalty.

How do I know this? They told me. They told me and others about their ancestor’s journeys. They were all journeys. All from somewhere else. Actually, several somewhere else’s. They talked of The Mayflower, Ellis Island, Korea, Cuba, Italy, Germany, Ireland, England, Argentina, Gullah Island, France, Columbia, Mexico, Scotland, Africa, China, Vietnam, and more. We talked about Castro, Sickle Cell, every great war, every great migration, and several trips by boat. We talked about love stories and sad stories, success stories and failures.

We talked about geography and geology. We talked about each other and ourselves. And we talked about heroes. And warriors. And politics. And again, love. Being loved enough to have ancestors dream of a better life, fight for a better life, create a better life, and survive. Being loved by family enough to change countries, continents, and even names. And being loved by a country that was flawed and changed for the better.  A country that welcomed the unwanted, and hugged the unlovable. A country that is supposed to be about the circle of mutts, mongrels and regal. A country that gave them a chance to build a home for these young people of all colors, creeds and religions to sit in a circle, laughing, sharing, and loving each other.

They will make that same country better. Today, they learned why they are here, how they got here, and why it is important. They will now pay more attention to the history being taught. It’s their story. It’s their history. And their future. What a great day of learning.

The easiest way to connect is sharing.  A team that will study together, ask questions together, learn answers together, will win together. Shared IQ and Intelligence. Each one is smarter with another. Quite often, the ball court is a classroom. Connections don’t just happen. They happen by choice. They happen by planning. They happen when people care. Care enough to ask, care enough to listen, care enough to tell, and care enough to share.

When this is done, we know more. Knowing more means caring more. Caring more means sharing more. When we know who we are, who we all are, we are better for it.

That is true, on the field of play and off. That’s what learning and loving through sports is all about.

LovePrints.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. A grandmother’s love. Great women raise great people.

Great women raise great men.

A loveprint has staying power. It travels well. It has depth and value. It exists in parts of the soul that is deeper than memories, and, is able to appear and re-appear at the most perfect of times. It is the healer of pain, the remover of scars, and the new layer of skin that allows us to move on, forward and up.

I have detailed my search for facts, my want of details, and a more complete knowledge of self. As the search moves forward and up in several directions, what I am finding out is that no matter what facts are added, no matter what memories are ahead, the loveprints that cover me and walk with me are clear to me. The value of love shared with me can not really be measured, so I want to use this vehicle to tell the stories, share the stories, and maybe someone will decide to look within themselves and find some love on them and in them that might have been forgotten. Maybe, someone will read this and have it reach a loveprint of their own. It might even move them to reach out to a loved one with appreciation and thanks.

Big love can come in small packages. I have often said that I refuse to live in fear. That is because I have learned that most things feared have some power and value to you if you stand firmly and look closely at it. The fear that I once had is now respect. The one person that I feared in the world became the person that I respect the most. She was big in persona, and she was the most formidable force that I have ever witnessed on this earth. She could make miracles happen, she could make me taller, she could change any room that she walked in, and if you asked my siblings and relatives, she could walk on water. Her smile was the ultimate compliment, standard, and authority. It had the power to erase doubt, add happiness, and confirm goodness.

My grandmother, Hattie Sue Harris, shared the same birthday with me, and it was a common point of discussion for us. When I was having one of my better days, I was her 51st birthday present. When I was resisting her love, I was her aging her faster than she wanted. She was the family matriarch, and with   people in the family, she was the tip top of all things. My grandfather would not waver to many, but he had a clear understanding of who really was in charge. She was powerful, forceful, strong, and stable. She was constant and consistent. She was the pillar. And I never knew that she was short until much later in life.

She was Big Mama, the ultimate woman, the superhero, the therapist, and soother of souls, and the worlds best cook. She was everything. I think all of us kids knew this back then, even if we never said it to one another in words. We knew the sets of rules. Behavior and our grandmothers house, and our behavior anywhere else (which included the knowledge that any such behavior would get back to her, so you better watch your step at her house or anywhere else!).

Her house was the center of the family universe. It was always full of life and love, and was the usual meeting place for family branches from all over. Any given weekend, there would be relatives from DC< Maryland, New Jersey, Philly, etc.  gathered there. I know I am describing many G-Ma’s, Mimi’s, Nana’s, etc. , and that is my point. I did not recognize then that I was included in the blessing. I did not realize that this was why she was there. This was a greater good. Not everyone had a version of this. Many did not have her excellence as a standard.

The house smelled like love. It sounded like love. I knew what love was. THIS WAS IT. I knew that I would be love, and loved there. I had a big family and extended family. It was joyful. There were young people playing outside (we would NEVER play inside) the grown ups were inside or at the picnic table out back. There was my great uncle spinning the hits from in my mind, the greatest collection of music in the entire world. We kids knew the day was turning up when he began doing his little dance in the basement. (A collection that was hands off!)

When I said the house smelled like love, love smells like hours of preparation, care, and joy. It came from a kitchen where cakes, pies, the worlds best fried chicken, greens, ham, fish, and more were always ready for anyone who dared announce their hunger. There was a grill outside just in case my uncle decided to fire it up and crush some burgers and hot dogs in between hands of cards. And let me tell you, these card games were epic. Marathons of talking smack, laughing at one another, and reestablishing a pecking order just beneath Hattie Sue. She was always the tops.

The house was always immaculate. From the yard to the steps and everywhere inside. Even as she cooked, it was in order. Each room had its own energy, and each one demanded respect. Sundays were filled with gospel on the stereo, and words of wisdom and love from Hattie Sue. She could put words together, let me tell you. I do not remember her ever cursing, but she did not have to. To this day, I can see the look in her eyes, the curling of the lips, and a stare that said PLEASE CONSIDER YOUR NEXT WORDS AND ACTION YOUNG MAN! It was the moment that I feared. I did not ever want to return to it. I did not want to be around it. So, I tasked myself to never repeat whatever behavior would bring it.

I got to live with her for a bit in my teens. My school bus stop was right across from her house, and it worked. As one of eight kids, any time I could get one on one attention and lover, I took it. She settled me down, lifted me up, built up my spirit and my soul, and made me better. Every day. Every single day. She gave me chores, she gave me smiles, and she gave me goals. She gave me a way. She gave me an example. She gave me a North Star. She was the way.

She gave us a home. We all had houses, but she was HOME. I pay attention to what people run to and away from. She was the magnetic force for good. She was the lead dancer, even when she was sitting down. Her ability to demand that you show her your best still walks with me. Her decision to smile at you was epic. Her desire for goodness for us all was her force each day. She gave of herself because she knew that she had much to give. More importantly, she gave herself. She gave you time. She gave you wisdom. She gave you nutrition. She gave you Hattie.

I never feared again. Not anyone. She taught me that love is often tough, it is often loud, it is often challenging. I learned that love is not determined by the size of the person, but the depth of their intent. She gave me rules to love by, steps to take, and a way to be better at all of it. She taught me that faith is the voice of love, and that it is the voice in your head that guides you to do right. She taught me that anyone that cooks for you, cares. That you should focus on doing good, often. She taught me that short in size didn’t matter nearly as much as the size of heart. She loved me enough to tell me what I needed to know instead of what I wanted to hear. She told me the truth.

She walks and talks with me daily. I hear her voice. I hear her laughter. I see her smile. I remember that look. I will never forget her love.

Thank you for being the example of love in action, and action in love.

I thought of you today, I love you out loud. I need to write this now so that it is in the air forever.

You deserve that.

Thank you.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. There can only be one “Pops”. A Thanksgiving thank you.

There can only be one “Pop”.

Some of you know that I am in the process of finding out who my DNA family is, and it has been such an emotionally exhausting task that I decided to journal as progress happens. Along the way, certain parts of my history are brought to the front of my memories, to the front of my heart. I will soon know for a fact who my father is, what my name should have been, where my forefathers came from, and what names do they possess. In no way is this journey meant to disrespect anyone, as it is a fact-finding journey, and facts matter.

To say that I do not know who this person is may be confusing. There are people who loved me then and now who earned their place in my heart and memories. There are those who came and went, and those who stayed. The is but one “Pops”. No one will ever take his place or fill his shoes. In the season and spirit of thanks, I am choosing to simple pay tribute properly.

What do you say to a person who came into your life and changed it for the better?

Thank you.

A LovePrint is love in action. An action in love. It is the covering of those your care about in so much love that nothing else can stick. It is the canvasing of people in your circle of so much adoration that they take it into their world and do the same thing. One act at a time, in love.

Roland Thomas Morgan came into my life around the age of 11 or so for me. I remember not being overly impressed initially, but I had no reason to not give him a chance. I asked my favorite question:

” Who are you?”

He told me that I should introduce myself first before asking such a thing, and that led to a conversation of two bullheads, one age 11, and the other, a grown man. What happened was a mutual respect club of two, as he promised to be decent, and I promised to do the same, We would agree on was that we both wanted my mother happy, and after was agreed upon, we would be able to reach agreement on most other things.

My mother raised me and taught me how to be a good person. Pops taught me how to be a man. I can only speak for myself on this, and recognize that he had his flaws and imperfections. What I can say is this, he lifted me up in ways that still stick with me to this day. He challenged me, he inspired me, he gave me directions, a helping hand, and love.

He was my personal driver, from school, from practice, from games, and from work. In those minutes and hours, he showed me the world. He fed my dreams, he plotted my successes, he gave me the soundtrack to my youth, and he gave me a reason to believe in the good in people. He changed my taste in food, he introduced me to style, embraced our differences, and told me stories about the war. He explained life before integration, set boundaries for life after, and prepared me for whatever was coming next.

He took my curiosity of sports and fed it like I needed it to survive. My love for boxing was passed from his lips to my soul with stories of Jack Johnson, Cassius Clay, Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta, and his favorite, Joe Louis. If you ever wanted to see a smile that could light up the sky, ask Pop about Joe Louis. The pitch of his voice would raise from the deep bass as he described meeting Louis after he fought Schmeling the second fight. He would laugh in this disco club style bass speaker pound when talking about the differences between Ted Williams and Willie Mays. The Splendid Splinter was his guy. He would chuckle whenever he asked me to lock Williams swing and run to first base.

He is responsible for my love of music. He would drive us around DC, Maryland, and Virginia with a car full of 8 tracks that included Barry White, Eddie Kendricks, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. But his guy was Teddy Pendergrass. My goodness! He would let me choose the artist, and then spent time telling me where they were from, why that mattered, why it sounded the way that it did, and I can’t hear those artists today without smiling and hearing him sing above their music. He drove me to the Cater Barron Theatre to listen to the Dells, Impressions, and the Staples sing during a sound check before their show that night.

He thought he could dance. He really did. He was the prototype of the old black guy trying to dance to this new fangled hippity hoppity music in the early 80’s. but finally came around when he could recite the chorus to Rappers Delight. He also introduced me to Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and this new cat named Richard Pryor, who had albums that I could only listen to when no one else was home.

He used to take me shopping for clothes because THE LADIES LOVE A MAN IN TIGHT CLOTHES! I knew that not all men were created equally whenever he rocked his open chest shirts. Everything looked good on the man.

He taught me to know my way around the kitchen and laundry room. NO WOMAN WANTS A MAN WHO WEARS DIRTY CLOTHES. And, making his bed should be a mans first task in his day. He handled clothes inspections each morning before school, that line from the iron should make the crease sharp on the jeans. Anything else is unacceptable.

He would give my team uniforms the once over as well. Making sure that I had the right black polish or spray paint for the Black Knights Football helmet painting on the back porch the Friday nights before Saturday games. Clean those cleats as well! Make sure that the converse leather was clean. And straight into the laundry post game. He made sure they were set out the night before school. No last-minute chaos, young man.

He would ask me to breakdance. He wanted to understand. He wanted to understand the need for a beer bong. He would sneak to watch me play, masking fear that I somehow wasn’t proud of him, or that he wouldn’t fit in with the majority of white parents at games. But he was ALWAYS there. He knew about injuries before I could tell him. He would always look for my homework. I WAS WIRED TO USE MY BRAIN AND NOT LABOR.

He could build anything by hand. I was horribly disappointing at it. He still patiently worked with me. He got me a paper route that turned into three. He got me a summer job clearing rooftops and houses, which to this day is the hardest thing I have ever done. I couldn’t wait for two a day practices to start so that I wouldn’t have to kill myself with him on these roofs.

He would check in at work. Always. And he never offered advice openly. He managed to weave the conversation to lesson points without ever letting on that he was teaching me. And, he was happy to help.

He was the voice in my ear on dates, and he was undefeated in picking out keepers. He spotted Beckie early, and even gave her the nickname Bex. I still use it today, some 35 years later. If I dated you more than once, he cosigned you. If not, well, he didn’t. He was protective in the best way possible. He wanted the best for me.

He is also the reason I do not like guns. I never felt threatened, but he had one in the house for work, and I hated it. He was loved Johnny Walker Black, and Johnny Walker Red for the holidays. He never got me to meet him halfway with pig’s feet, chitterlings, or pickled eggs. He took me to Baltimore to see the Orioles after the Senators left town, and to see the Colts and Always Hurt Burt Jones! He did all of this because he wanted to, not because he had to. He did all of this when the person who could have, didn’t.

He did all of this until the day he died. He never wavered in his love for me, or those I loved. He never once said that I couldn’t. I never forget the day that he threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to a fight since I had been spending those hours in the basement lifting those weights. He said I was ready. I was. I remember coming home from doing my first television show. The big 6’3, 240lb man cried. He said I impressed him. He said I was ready for the world.

He also cried the day I came home from Charlotte. He had gotten satellite tv so that he could watch his boy talk football in Carolina. He said that he knew that I talked funny for a reason! He had taped the shows and given them all to his friends to watch. And we celebrated in a way that many of you have shared with us. A shot of Johnny Walker Black.

It is with tears on my face that I type this. He deserves these tears. No matter what I find out from DNA, there will only be one and only POPS.

What do you say to someone who came into your life and made it better?

What do you say to someone who covered you in LovePrints?

Thanks, Pop.

Thanks.

 

 

 

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LovePrints. When you grow up with your hero.

Great families make great people. Great people make great families.

I have no shame in celebrating the good people in the world. It is easy to give compliments when they are the truth. When those people are constant and consistent, they deserve their story to be told. When they grow up in the same house, it makes it all that much more special.

My older brother (he smiles when I remind him that he will always be older) claimed the hero spot in my life at an early age. I watched him play football and run track as a young man, and then got to wait anxiously at home for him to return with his stories of the country. He introduced me to different ways to train, eat, pray, and win. He was everything that I wanted to be, and he shared the path. He was generous in sharing the importance of faith and education, integrity and character. And, I was in awe of how much awe he inspired in others.

I do not know who your heroes are, but I can tell you that I was blessed with a brother who was worthy of the title, and the responsibility. I carried the moniker “Little Bob” until I was old enough to make my own name matter. I appreciate having such a high standard to live up to, and with.

Well done, old man. Well done.

Getting to know: Robert E. Smith with Child Shield

Title: Executive with the local franchise of Child Shield USA, a company that offers family-focused services designed to keep children safe

Born: 1955, grew up in Arlington County

Education: Bachelor of arts in political science communications, 1977, David Lipscomb College in Nashville. (“I ran track for three years while in college and was named first team or second team All-American each year. At the end of my freshman year, I was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team.”)

Career: Retired in 2010 from Philip Morris USA/Altria Group after 30 years. Positions held include warehouse supervisor, group supervisor in the warehouse, HIPAA privacy administrator and manager in the medical department.

In which part of the metro area do you live: Henrico County

Best business decision: “To always do that which is right, to treat others the way I want to be treated, and to put others first before self. I also learned that it is always best to be completely honest. That way, people know that you always tell the truth, which means they know they can believe what you have told them. Credibility is very important.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “When I was young, while running a race I was so far ahead of my competitors that I looked back to see where they were. Well, I fell and ended up rolling across the finish line. I did not win the race. I came in third place. I learned, don’t focus on what is behind you, keep your eyes on the goal, which is before you.

First job after college: “I sold life insurance.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “Work harder and smarter in elementary, middle and high school. The more you learn early in life helps you to be able to learn even more as you progress through life, and that applies to school, college, the work world and everyday life.”

Book that inspired you the most: “The book that has inspired me the most is ‘The Bible.’ God, who is our creator, has told us everything we need to know to be happy in this life and happy forever.

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: “Geometry, because I knew that I personally would never use it. My favorite subject in college was history, because I learned about the past and learned from the past.”

http://www.richmond.com/business/local/getting-to-know-robert-e-smith-with-child-shield/article_e611e6b4-edeb-57f1-9f74-5bb43ab7bfc4.html

 

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