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LovePrints. Bracelets for the staff and students of Stoneman Douglas High School

 

We all know the story. What I would like to do is send a LovePrints bracelet to the staff and students of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. There are approximately 3000 students and 200 teachers and staff.  I would like to do this immediately so that the bracelets are there as they head back to school.

LovePrints has the motto Cover the world in love. We can do with Love in Action, and by action in love. This small gesture is an act of love, out loud. A small statement that someone cares about them. A reminder on those tough coming days that when they look down at their wrist, they know that they are not alone.

Let the bracelets be a statement and a symbol that love lives here, wherever the bracelets are.

It takes so very little to do so much. We cannot do everything, but we can do something.

Every single penny of your donation will go to bracelets. I will be sure to let you know how many we sent, and when.

Feel free to share this. No donation is too large or small.
Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/LovePrintsStonemanDouglas

Derrick Pearson
LovePrints
www.loveprints.us

Posted in Giving Back
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LovePrints. One coach. One experience. No gun.

Here goes.
A little of my experience.
I was coaching football at an unnamed High School. ( I have coached at many, so this protects anyone offended by this sharing.) In the middle of hot August two-a-day practices, 90 plus degree heat, tempers are short, and nerves frazzled. Both the coaches, training staff, and players are all exhausted from dehydration, extremely hot weather, ridiculous football conditions, and the fight for positions and placement for the upcoming season. Mind you, the regular season had not started yet, just practices and scrimmages, so we were in the early phases of things.
I believe that this was the second practice of the day. We had just returned from lunch and recovery session, and were going through some individual drills in the days afternoon practice when among the whistles blowing and pads popping, I heard a voice scream out from the other side of the bleachers. It startled me. It was not a voice that I was familiar with among coaches barking, and players chanting. The voice was an adult male. “COACH SO AND SO!” “COACH SO AND SO! WHERE ARE YOU? COME FACE ME YOU SON OF A ……..!”
There was a pause, and then the voice bellowed out again from a different place, which let me know that he was on the move towards us. “COACH! YOU HEAR ME?!! COACH SO AND SO, COME FACE ME LIKE A MAN!” The voice had cut down the distance between where it was and where we were. I was at the far end of the field, which was closest to the early bellow rather than where he was now. I saw a shadow of him, and took off in a full sprint to the place where paths needed to cross before he would face players or coaches. I wanted to be there first. I needed to be there first.
Not one part of this is heroic. In the words of the local police, I should stay away, make the call, and let them handle it. I fully understood that. Who knows if they are armed or not. They are obviously angry and moved to the point of action. Even at school, it would take a while for them to get there. So I sprinted to where he was. I never looked back.
I got to the man behind the voice. He was the father of one of the players. We kind of knew one another, but were not friends. I asked him what was going on. He said that he had issue with the head coach and how his son was being treated and slotted for playing time. (Again, we are in summer practice, and slots were not assigned yet, and certainly, this was NOT the way to handle this. Approaching a coach about playing time is a big time no no. Approaching a coach during practice, with other players around, in public, another big no no.
I explained that this was not the way to handle this. But my inner dog barked that nothing was going on without going through me. Talk to me. Talk to me, so that it just remains talking. We do not want to do more than talk. Trust me. He barked a little more and then settled into an angry rage rather than an erupting volcano. Yes, being a big dude provided some buffer. I used it.
The head coach showed up after I did. At that point, things were in discussion mode, and they went off to talk about all of it. I looked around, and noticed something. Me and the head coach were the only ones that came running. Yes, my two buddies on the staff had their eyes on my back in case I needed them, but of the 10 or so coaches, only 2 were at the stand off point. I kind of chuckled. These were football coaches. Maybe they simply wanted no part of the confrontation. Maybe they chose to stay away. Or as my two buddies told me, “We heard him bark, and before we could react, you were already in full sprint. We knew it was going to be good. ” I also know and trust that if something popped off, they had my back. No doubt. The three of us chuckled about it. Insanity. Who shows up at practice and challenges a coach?!!”
Real talk. This could have gone horribly wrong. I am thankful that God has his hands on me. The head coach said he was impressed that I reacted and rallied as I did. He also noticed who did not. So did the players on the team. The KNEW.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Adults misbehaving, parents flying off the handle, players being emotional. It happens often. Calm heads and big hearts can often solve the problems. Often, insanity ad chaos happens. There are mountains of videos of parents fighting, referees fighting, coaches fighting, players and fans fighting. To add to that with an expectation that teachers and coaches are in control of their emotions and faculties is a reach. It only takes one adult to cause havoc. It only takes one to set hundreds of angry reactions in place. And here is this, not everyone is there to thwart nonsense. It is not what they signed up for. Its not why they are there.
I am not a stand around guy. I get that. But, I am also not an escalator either. I made a horrible mistake. I was lucky and did not pay. I did not know why he was there, nor did I know his intentions. I simply reacted. Most did not. I don’t blame them. I just know that in every case where this happens, there are those mouthy folks who say they will react, and don’t. They cant. Actions are greater than words. They require more.
Lets not add weapons to the equation. Lets add love to it. Lets add common sense. Not everyone is built for it. Not everyone cares enough to react to it in love.
Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. The cure for darkness, is light.

Coach DP

LovePrints.

Learning and Loving through sports.

How about we put our brightest lights in the darkest spaces?

I have always known that sports can be a great connector in our society. It removes boundaries, introduces other cultures, expands our knowledge of other people, and brings us closer together. Athletics highlights the best in us and provides solutions to the things that hinder our ability to get along.

When I started LovePrints, I recognized that using sports as one of the vehicles for covering the planet in love was easy. Athletes are often highlighted, followed, serve as an example, and can rally the masses. If these athletes recognize their influence, they can be the leaders off the field as well as on. If we handle this properly, they will have as much impact in the school and community, as they do on their respective fields of play.

If we, as coaches, parents, and teachers cover these athletes in love, they will have more to cover others in love. If we cover them in love, nothing else will stick. That should be the mission. That should be the goal. Cover the leaders in love. Cover the examples in love. And then, watch those leaders do the same for others.

Often, we see images and videos of star athletes stopping by to visit and talk to other athletes. What if those star athletes made a point to go into the corners and dark places of schools, communities, and hallways to find those people who need love the most? What if they made a point to visit with, get to know, connect with, and befriend those loneliest and most disconnected of us?

The child sitting alone in the stairwell. The kid not chosen for games. The young one who does not have a team, or the one who does not belong to a club. How cool would that be? How cool would that be to have that connection?

Maybe this would shine a light on them. It might even do something for their self-esteem. It might add a few smiles, and maybe even make some new friends.

Imagine a baseball team of 25 players. If each player finds a new person to introduce themselves to, share themselves with, and get to know, that’s using our brightest stars for their grandest purpose. For every home game, they invite a different person to their game. Next game, next new friend. That’s 25 a game. And for each game, its 25 more friends at the game than the last. 25 new people with a vested interest in each other. 25 new people connected through and because of the program. Ten games later, the stands should be full of new friends, new fans, and connected family.

We can talk all we want about why our young people are full of angst and nerves. Let’s send them some reinforcements. Let’s send them our best. Let’s send them our love!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Let’s let our stars be thLove bright lights that they are. Let them be the light for those in the dark. Let’s go!

Stars Shine!

Posted in Programs
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LovePrints. Dr. John Butler.

Posted in Good Sports
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LovePrints. The 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Loving and Learning through sports.

Sports can be the great bridge.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics opens, the LovePrints motto “Loving and Learning through sports” comes to mind. Sports has always been a bridge for the rest of society. It allows for opponents to get to know one another, share similarities, and grow together after competition. They get to go outside of their comfort zones, meet a diverse group of people, learn about different cultures, and become more socially aware of people from other places. Sports has always had that power. The power to connect.

Sports is a bridge, a teacher, a healer, and a leader. It connects people who normally rival one another. It uncovers the common bond of preparation, ambition, and desire. Of all of the things that athletes respect, it is the work required to excel. It is the knowledge that their rival has done as much as they have, or more. They know what their rivals have sacrificed, and they know what they gave up to have success.

Sports brings to light the simple idea that aside from all other things, it can be fair. It can be the thing that helps us talk more and hate less. It can be the reason we work, the reason we excel, and the reason we improve. Sports can also be the light. It shines on the good and bad, the happy and sad, the great and the greatest. It can be the mirror to society, and the way to pull us all together.

The Olympic motto is the hendriatis “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, Stronger, Higher. It calls for us to understand that the most important thing is not to win, but to participate. Some speak ill of participation as a goal. Participation is the line of steps required to win or lose. I am a fan of participation. It requires one more step forward into greater that others may not take. From there, faster, stronger, and higher can be constant fuel for us all.

The Olympic spirit and its five rings symbolizes the five continents and all its people. It holds its six colors of inclusion, considering each of the flags of all countries, and the populations that play under and for them. It crosses borders, boundaries, and stereotypes. It allows the simple concept that the best athlete on that day, at that moment, is celebrated. It allows that we all see the best in them, and ourselves. They become the standard. They become what we aspire to, dream of, and applaud.

As I watched rival countries sit near one another, and fiercely competitive athletes eye those athletes who stand in the way of their own individual moments of greatness, it becomes clear that sports has pulled opposites together. Sports got them to the games. And hopefully, the games will provide a bridge for familiarity and consideration. If we can sit together, maybe we can talk to one another. If we can play together, we share something worth talking about.

Here’s to the 2018 Winter Olympics. May it show us our best reflection. May the games bring us closer together, like the Miracle on Ice. May the strangers become friends. May the lessons of humanity be taught and learned, while we gain the ability to care about the people playing the game.

At the open of the ceremony, the broadcast led with this quote. “..always start with dreams, the best stories always begin there.” Sports is the bridge from dream to reality. It connects them. It waits patiently for the crossing. Loving and learning. Thank you, sports.

 

Posted in Good Sports
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Why do student athletes fail? The question may be the problem.

Why do Student Athletes fail? The question may be the problem.

They don’t. The adults fail.

Student Athletes are products of the adults that love them (or don’t). Student Athletes live in a vacuum of adult created and crafted vacuums, each one filled with mixed messages, confusing priorities, and adult angst. Let’s get to the gut of it all. Adults identify (or don’t) the priority. Adults finance the space (or don’t). Adults are hired to achieve said priority (or don’t). Adults create and raise the student athletes, giving them love, purpose, love, goals, love, belief, love, and support (love).

Now that we have identified the new focus of academic failures, we can work to fix the problems. (Adults). Here is the plan: Keep the first thing first. These are student athletes, not athlete students. When done extremely well, they are SCHOLAR ATHLETES (Yes, I dare to set higher standards). Once the adults agree that the student comes before the athlete, then the path to succeeding at the first thing clears. There are fewer obstacles. There are fewer questions.

Adults, please remember moving forward (and up) that ACADEMICS is the thing. Academics is the key to love of self and others. It is the gift to one’s self that keeps on giving. It opens doors, it finds solutions, and it is a statement that the student is love, and loved enough to improve and add to society, community, and the planet. Practice this statement with your students “Learning is love”.

Adults build the communities, schools, and fields. If the academic focus and priority is clear, decisions about them become simple. What is the first thing? How do we make it better? Is it working? Is it love? Yes, love will be a constant in this. Love of self, family, community, school, others and planet. “Learning is love”. Teaching is also love. The giving of knowledge and information may be one of the great blessings known to mankind. The accepting of that love is the sign of intelligence that is carried throughout life. The openness and willingness to be taught, to accept information, to be questioned, heard, considered, and pondered is how invention and creation are born. And, reborn. Feed love. Love feeds.

When those schools are built, “This is where love lives” should be on every building and in every classroom. These words should be in every teacher contract and on every desk. Adults in place should be asked if they love themselves before being given the responsibility of loving our young futures. They should be asked if they love their students. They should be asked if they love what they are teaching and sharing. This ensures the reinforcing of the positive and loving environment that learning needs, and deserves.

When adult coaches are hired, ask them if they know what is THE focus is. (Academics) Ask them what should they focus on when the first thing and ANY other thing conflicts with it. (Academics) Ask what they are being paid for. (Academics) Ask again, what comes first? (Academics). Then celebrate them when they succeed at it. Celebrate them when the thing that comes first is KEPT first. Celebrate them when the love that they have is shared, repeated, and multiplied. Celebrate them!

When adult teachers are hired, ask them the same questions what comes first? (Academics) Then, ask again. Remind them that they are there to love someone’s, everyone’s young people, and to teach them. They are there to love them, even when they do not feel like loving them, or self. Does their love show in their lessons, in their planning, and in their daily connections? Does love appear on the faces of the students, and do the students leave their classrooms in more love than when they got there? Do the students ask questions, do they smile, and do they say thank you? The adults own the room, they are the keepers of time, and the directors of the lives they touch daily.

When the adults send the students to school, is there love on them already? Love comes in all sizes and colors. Love can be a few hugs before and after school. Love can be authentic questions about the day before, the day of, and what the next day holds. Love can be a kiss on the head during study time, it can be a text during the day to remind them of love of themselves and from home. Love can be an email to the teacher or coach saying thank you, one to the student confirming pride and support, or a text to yourself reminding you to send love later. Love can be ten minutes each week with no cell phones and just two smiles, yours and theirs. Love can be acknowledgment that you understand what they are going through because you were them, once.

When the schools, teachers, coaches, parents, and community all state constantly and consistently what they focus is, that is what it will be. When each of them remember that the system is simply the fence posts in place, each one needing the other to help boundary great young people into greater old people, the fence keeps the priority in place. When one post loosens, the others should feel a tug when resistance happens. When a student strays from the path, the posts are pulled with them, signaling to them all that reposting is needed. When the adults remember what the focus is, focus becomes clearer. It is up to the adults to not fail. As coaches are prone to say, “Win or learn. Never lose.”. Once the adults learn that it is STUDENT ATHLETE, winning happens. Some would say that learning leads to winning.

I cannot wait until the adults learn. The student athletes are trying to win. They need our help. And, our love.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Parents
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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.

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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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.

 

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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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.

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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