Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fairfax Football Academy Coach Barry Thompson has left LovePrints everywhere.

One. Just one special one. Barry Thompson, Founder of Fairfax Football Academy is a special one.
If we get lucky, as coaches, players, teachers, mentors, students, parents, or fans, we run across one special one. Just one. Of any of them.
I luckily have happened to have crossed paths with several of each in my life. Incredibly fortunate. And in most cases, they are far to humble to speak of or for themselves, so I ill use this vehicle to speak on them, of them, and about them. It is not that people do not speak about them, it is HOW they speak about them that I wish to change. I will start this one with someone that I am close to, and someone that I admire deeply. As I explain who he is, I will explain those traits about him that make him special. Special to me, to others, to anyone. Barry Thompson of Fairfax Football Academy is a unicorn in a dancing grizzly bears clothing.
I first met him in Arlington, Virginia back in 1975. We were both attending Swanson Jr. High School, and he was already an elite student and athlete. He also was already forming as a leader of his peers and community. He ran track, was a roller skating phenom, a black quarterback, and a wrestler. And what anyone that ever met him can tell you that he sparkles. We met again at Washington-Lee High School in the same country, and his trajectory continued as a human and as an athlete. On a team with future Division 1 and NFL players among them, he was still a leader of stars. A “do it the right way”, “is that your best effort”, “now that we are done working, lets smile” kind of guy. Those traits took him to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, a factory of amazing leaders itself.
His story goes deeper off the field, than on. Yes, he was a high school quarterback who was athletic enough to switch positions to play defensive back in college. No small statement there at all. And another key to his uniqueness and his ability to analyze, adapt, and succeed. And those things serve him well today, as a honorable son, a loving husband, a doting father, and a shining light to young people all over the country.
Life put us on each other’s paths again some 25 years after high school. A random encounter at a youth league event put us face to face, and back in time. The quarterback in his huddle, calling his wide receiver to attention and tasking the troops with the next goal. And off we went, to rally some younger troops in a new place and a different times. But the same ole QB, same leadership and wisdom. And, the IT thing. The subtle character and trust factor that makes you want to GO! The thing that makes you want to work, improve, and try to be better. He is truly unique in his energy to assist, lead, and love.
He is blessed and gifted with a partner in life of epic standard. She too, a beacon of light, good, and beauty. Strong, resilient, and purposeful, she is the backbone to the family and community, and the two of them have raised two of the most incredibly beautiful humans anyone can imagine or hope for. Two life stars who will grow to change the world for the better, and that is why they are here. To be the standard makers and North Stars. I applaud them as loudly and proudly as I can, no matter where they are or what they are doing. It’s like standing on a beach as the sun rises. The beauty is astonishing, and the possibilities are endless.
I know a lot of great people. I know a lot of great coaches. Barry is the type of person/coach that everyone should know. He is a walking, talking, good filled LOVEPRINT.



Posted in Coaching, Edcuators, Giving Back, Good Sports, Weekly LovePrints
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WT Woodson Cavaliers Basketball Coach Doug Craig leaves his LovePrints


Doug Craig is far too humble to say any of this about himself, so I will say this for him. He is deserving of every award and accolade given to him, and some that have eluded him. He is actually in the profession of young people for the right reason. He cares. He has recently led the WT Woodson Cavaliers Basketball team to its first Virginia 6A Boys Basketball Championship in its proud and successful history, and to say that is maybe under selling the accomplishment. He will not take credit for it. And that may be the true genius in the man. He does not need the credit. He needs to care.

I will say that all coaches care. Maybe not in the right way or about the right thing. But they care. Maybe most care enough to collect the check, peel off the camp money, and all of the while, keep an eye open for the NEXT better option. Doug has this unique thing that happens as the lights get brighter. He lets others shine in it, and he is off to the shadows and dark corners to find an advantage. He is Lehigh in an non Lehigh community. He is well thought, well prepared, and he is love.

Not one player would say that he did not care. He openly cares, often to the point of tears and private tantrums. And public tantrums too. (Yes, he is human, but it is a part of his charm). But his genius is in the fact that everyone knows that he cares the right way, about the right people, for the right reasons. And that, well, is everything good.

In a program full of larger than life personas, stats, legendary eyes, and critical masses, Doug manages to love loudly, proudly, and on time. He stomps and growls to protect his charges, only to crack a brilliant smile when he thinks no one is looking so that they do not see the genius at work. He barks in rhythm to pace required for boundaries and rules, only to whisper instructions forward to move the mission forward. He takes time for his family, his students, and his community, all while obsessing privately over the detail. THAT detail. The one that will come in handy when no one thinks he has anything left in the bag. And then there is the heart. That leadership heart.

His wins on the floor and in the classroom are covered in love, trust, and care. He has talented players, who care. He has amazing parents, who care. He has enthusiastic fans, who care. And he has the family who stand him up straight, dress him up, purpose him forward, and care. They are the reason why he cares. He is covered in it. From his parents, siblings, amazing wife, and his future world dominating kids, he is covered in care. He is covered in LovePrints, and it is apparent that nothing else sticks.

He teaches with love. He coaches with love. He mentors with love. He rallies the community with love. Actually, he has come into a tough crowd community, and won them over. He outlasted the haters. He outworked his doubters. He won over the crowd.  And now they are his. He is love, and loved.

I am proud to say this for him. He is too humble to do so for himself. But I care. He is love, and loved.



Posted in Coaching, Edcuators, Good Sports
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The Tim Tebow example: What we do off the field is far more important than what we do on it

Tim Tebow

Posted in Giving Back, Good Sports

Florida State University wide receiver Travis Rudolph reminds us that no one should eat alone

Travis Rudolph, a star wide receiver for Florida State University’s football team, gave us all a reminder of why we are here, and what the best in us can do. Connection. Rudolph, who was one of several Seminoles players to visit a middle school, noticed a young man sitting and having lunch all by himself. Rudolph decided to do what we all should do, he went over to introduce himself to the young man, and have lunch with him. As it turns out, the young man’s mother saw them together and took a picture, which has gone viral. What jumps out to me is that this is so rare that we notice it. It should be the norm. It should be the thing. Be present. Be connected. Be there for each other.

As a coach, I ask my players to be aware of the fact that they are not anonymous. People see them. And with that thing, they need to be worthy of being known. Use if for something good, so that you can do something good with it. Be love out loud. Hold a door. Assist in whatever task you can be helpful in. Do more than you have to, more often than you have to, for whomever you can. Make the next thing that you cross paths with better than when you found it. Leave your space better than it was, leave with more friends than you came with, and exit with more love than you arrived with.

Thank you, Mr. Rudolph. We needed the reminder of how powerful we can be. How loving we can be. The task is now ours to move on. I see you.

Posted in Good Sports, Students, Weekly LovePrints

Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.

The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense. “This is the most remarkably intense and profound study of stress in the lives of teenagers that I have ever seen,” says Milkman. “I’m just so impressed by how well it is working.”

This idea spawned another: “Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry – because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness – without the deleterious effects of drugs?”

“We didn’t say to them, you’re coming in for treatment. We said, we’ll teach you anything you want to learn: music, dance, hip hop, art, martial arts.” The idea was that these different classes could provide a variety of alterations in the kids’ brain chemistry, and give them what they needed to cope better with life: some might crave an experience that could help reduce anxiety, others may be after a rush.

The results of these surveys were alarming. Nationally, almost 25 per cent were smoking every day, over 40 per cent had got drunk in the past month. But when the team drilled right down into the data, they could identify precisely which schools had the worst problems – and which had the least. Their analysis revealed clear differences between the lives of kids who took up drinking, smoking and other drugs, and those who didn’t. A few factors emerged as strongly protective: participation in organised activities – especially sport – three or four times a week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about at school, and not being outdoors in the late evenings

Posted in Programs, Students, Weekly LovePrints

A White House visit with My Brother’s Keeper

Finally, time to sit down and share more details of my  LovePrints mentor trip to White House and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. I will try and make it short. I have been working with President Obama’s initiative My Brothers Keeper for the past two years, spawning LovePrints into action. My Brothers Keeper is about helping young people get on track, stay on track, and have support in doing so. For its 2nd anniversary, some of us were invited to the White House to celebrate the work. There would be a Stakeholders meeting and reception, with speakers from the Presidents cabinet, and several financial supporters of the initiative. Also present were mentees, and select mentors. Some spoke. We all shared. We shared stories of why we do what we do, for whom do we do it, and how we do it. As I have said, I am not sure why I got invited. But I was. Now, lets jump to my why I do this. Apparently, this is big. WHY?.

When asked who we do this for, my mind bounced like a ping pong ball in a tight cube. The name that came to mind was one. It was bright and glowing. It was so BOLD AND BRILLIANT. We asked to all call out the name of the person. For me, it was the person that I thought of the entire time I stood in the security line to be cleared to go in. It was the name that made me cry, because I wish that they could be with me. It made me smile because it would make them smile. It would be the person that this would have meant so much to.

It was mom.

To think that her boy was invited here. That her boy had done something, anything, worthy of being here, with Mayors, Govenors, Cabinet Members, and leaders. When the Secretary of Education asks for your thoughts, you probably should answer. Her boy who grew up just a few miles away from this place, who lived in its shadows, but never felt a part of it. Her boy was dressed up, fired up, and ready to go!

And then it hit me. I was there representing not only my mom, but my grandmother, my wife, daughter, family from one end to the other. I was representing Green Valley, Drew, Jackson, Swanson, and W-L. SMBC, JSR, and VCU. Every company that I ever worked for, and dreamed bigger than. Every friend that said that I was something, and those “friends” that thought that I was not. For every coach I ever had, every player that I ever knew, and every friends mom or dad who used their hands to lift, pull, raise, or elevate me. I was there. And proud. we were a part of the process. We were there to add to. We were there to add on.

I got to speak about each and everything and everyone in my previous two paragraphs. And they listened. They asked about mom, and my family, my old neighborhoods, and my new. I was asked about my old schools and new. They asked about my teacher friends, my teachers past, and what they were and want to be. I got to suggest ways to make the helpers happier and the path easier. I got to share your successes, and more importantly, your love. Hopefully, I spoke on your behalf. On your kids behalf. On our kids behalf.

I do not know why I was asked, other than saying that it was because of all of the people that i mentioned. I needed to share them all to these people, because they needed to know them. And they listened. They really did. And wanted to know more. And they shall. Because they asked.

Thank you mom. Thanks all of you. Thanks all of them. You were all there with me. And I sure would not have been there without you. As a matter of fact, I am sure that you were why I was there. Or anywhere else for that matter. Bravo, I applaud YOU.

Coach Pearson White House trip for My Brothers Keeper 2016

Posted in Coaching, Edcuators, Giving Back, Programs
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Gratitude. A daily LovePrints idea in a short film.

Gratitude is a daily LovePrints idea to being grateful and thankful for the gift each day is that love requires being present, and the ability to be in awe of the things around you. Each day is a gift, so be thankful and appreciative of it. Gratitude requires honoring each thing by actually being present in it. Not one day that passes is empty, and with that is a series of wonderful, beautiful, authentic things. Those things are unique to that day, that moment, that company, and that place in the world and in your heart. No day is the same, no matter the recurring moments in them. Same place, different reaction to it. Same person, different energy around them. And in those days, in those moments, if we are present and treat them as the unique things that they are, joy can be renewed. Moments become refreshed, and revisited with new eyes, new energy, new knowledge. Enjoy the day by being available to being awed, wowed by your place in it, your effect on it, and your growth from it. Be surprised by your ability to be changed, your ability to move the environment, and your size within it. Allow yourself to ask small questions that lead to bigger answers. Allow yourself to actually see where you are, to know why you are, and to ask, what is next for me, this, and us.


I hope that you were present. I hope that you saw the video, heard the words, and felt its purpose. I hope that you read this, word for word, and felt their purpose. I hope that you came to this page with love in your heart, and leave it with more love covering you than you came with. Take with you this LovePrint, and go share yours with anyone and everyone who you cross paths with today. Be present enough to know that love matters, and love wins. Go. Love.

Posted in Coaching, Giving Back, Good Sports, Weekly LovePrints

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