Blog Archives

LovePrints. Parents should ask questions.

LovePrints is the collection on love on any one person, place, or thing. It is the accumulation of actions in love, and the resulting love from action. LovePrints is the presence of love in us, and the choice to share love with others.

Scholastic sports seasons end in June, and there is a short window before the begin in August. Some of you will meet new coaches, and some with revisit with coaches from the year before. There will be individual and team camps, solo workouts and group drills. There will be weight sessions, cardio evaluations, and film study. There is no off season. There is only improvement season.

As parents, there are questions. What I suggest is organizing your thoughts now so that when the time comes, you are prepared to ask the right questions to the right person at the right time. These are not all the questions, but they should help in determining what you need to ask your young persons coach.

Remember, each coach has a full schedule, and a voicemail and email box full of parents and players asking questions. A simple email suffices if you do not have a question the requires immediate answers. (No, what cleats should be purchased is not an immediate answer kind of deal) Also consider this: It may be your child’s dream to play in the league, but it is everyone’s dream to play in the league. The coach must answer to anywhere from 10 to 100 parents, and as you stand up for your child, there are 100 other parents standing up for theirs. Coaches love players with respectful parents. (MESSAGE!)

Here are some questions that may provide you with insight and information about the coach, the team, and the program.

Ask the coach who they are.

What does the coach need/want from you as parents?

What the most important thing?

What is the academic mission/plan?

What is the motto of the program?

Why do you coach?

How important is winning to the coach?

What is the protocol for injuries?

Who talks to the teachers and why?

Who is the trainer?

Can you have a list of the team rules?

These are just starter questions. Feel free to add your own. If you ask these questions, others will come to mind. If you don’t ask, you will find yourself asking these questions every day of the season. Ask away.

Posted in Parents
Tags: , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sometimes, the voice in the stands is a good one. Don Dunlap & LovePrints

Great people make great communities.

Great communities make great people.

The communities that we are raised in leave deep impressions on us. We carry those forward, and share them with the world. It is important to realize that those impressions can give us an advantage. Those impressions can give us direction, motivation, goals, purpose, and identity. Those impressions can provide support, affirmations, and a mirror to who we are, and can be. These impressions, when done well, are LovePrints.

As any community would want, our wish is that our young people learn from the elders. In perfect cases, the young people learn values, work ethic, the importance of the truth, and to love themselves and others. These LovePrints become the vehicle that moves the young people forward and up. These impressions are the voices in the ear of young people who leave the community. These impressions are the things that separate one young person from another. These LovePrints can provide boundary, focus, and the answer to many of life outside of the community’s questions.

The impressions can come in whispers, shouts, hugs, smiles, pats on the back, and looks from across the field. They can be the quiet, proud mom who simply nods, or the mom at the top of the bleachers, screaming at the top of her lungs to make sure that above the noise, above the action, the young person knows that she is there for them. They can come in notes from teachers who want to make sure that you get it, or from adults in the hallway who see you wavering from the forward and up, but nudge you back onto the line towards something good.

LovePrints can come in the from of the dad who sprints home after work to change from his Clark Kent clothes to his Coach and Superman Cape. They can come from the uncle or older brother who makes time to make sure that the young people understand that these are games, and that the game is not nearly as important as the person who plays them. These impressions can come from Pastors, Mentors, neighbors, and friends. No matter where they come from, if done well, they will travel well after they are shared.

One such LovePrint for me was the giant of a man with a thunderous laugh and a booming voice. His words were strong, and they always had purpose. He could smile and make you comfortable and uneasy at the same time. He was always processing information, and constantly sharing it. He had many gifts, including his amazing kids, and he had one that sticks with me to this very day.

As a young man, I played in the Arlington County Little Leagues, and among the hundreds of parents and families that stood out to me, this one has a special place. I managed to get transferred from my neighborhood clubs in South Arlington to some schools and teams from North Arlington. At age 9, I was bused from a predominantly black neighborhood to a predominantly white one. I lost some friendships, and gained some. The people that filled those holes may or may not know that they did so. Loveprints allows me to tell them.

At the new elementary school that I was sent to, there are certain people who became dear and lifelong friends. A few were made during gym class or at recess, with sports as the common thread that brought people together. We played the games, talked about our favorite players, and tried to emulate them as best as we could. In some cases, we became teammates. In others, we became rivals. In a few cases, we became both.

I can not emphasize this enough. Often, I was the only person of color in my class at school. I usually did not get the comfort of being comfortable. I became protective. I felt like it was me against them. And then, these friendships happened. They turned on the light and made everything bright. They allowed me to have some home base to come to. I had sounding boards, mirrors, and reflections.

Dave was one of the many who I connected with, in the classroom, and on the court/field. He had this awesome way of smiling as he played. It was competitive, but not angry. We both enjoyed playing the games. We tried to understand them. We never had a discussion that was about race. We just talked. We played. We were friends. We played together on a basketball team, we played against each other during baseball season, and we joked in between basketball plays and kickball victories.

On those days where games were played, everyone in Arlington watched everyone else play. It was a marathon of sports, all in one place, and all about each other. Among those watching Dave’s games, my games, was Dave’s dad. I found out that his first name was Don because Mrs. (Joanne) Dunlap often used his first name in addressing his ability to be louder at these games than everyone else combined. He had the ability to be heard from 200 feet away, this I knew. I could hear him as I stood in centerfield, at the free throw line, and at the concession stand.  DERRICK! Get your head up! (Wait, is that someone else’s dad yelling at me?) (Wait, that’s MR. DUNLAP!) Wait! (He doesn’t even coach me!) WAIT! HE’S COACHING ME! Joanne was always whispering “Don, give him a break, he doesn’t want to hear all of that! (They were both perfect. I didn’t WANT to. I NEEDED to.) She was an angel in my eyes. Another loving voice.

A reminder, this voice did not need a microphone or a speaker. It came with its own sound system and booster. It traveled above the normal voice levels of mere mortals, and it reached its selected ears with clarity and vibration. DERRICK! Settle down! Your feet are too busy! DERRICK! Finish the play! DERRICK! Great catch! Wait! Did he say great catch? He saw that! Awesome! I guess I better make more great catches. I like that a ton more than SETTLE DOWN!

I became curious as to what he said to David during his games. Get this…it was LOUDER! But, there he was, cranking out instructions, encouragement, reminders, cheers, and support. And the rest of the parents heard him, and followed. DAVID! Take the shot! DAVID! Great throw! DAVID! Meet me at the concession stand! (Yes, I am using exclamation marks to capture his spirit. He earned them!

After David’s games, or my games, Mr. Dunlap would always manage to catch me off to the side and speak to me., I pretty much could guess what he was going to say because he had said all of it ten times during the game. I always paid attention. I always had something to learn from him. It was always good. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE YOURSELF! PLAY THE GAME! RELAX! YOU PLAYED WELL TODAY! Those things were constantly said to me. I always thought how lucky and afraid Dave must be. This towering giant would stand over me and rain down wisdom and guidance. He would stand next to Dave and coach us both. Here’s the thing. He did not have to, but he did it anyway. He may not have had the time, but he made time anyway. He always did.

As I grew older, I would hear Mr. Dunlap at high school games, and the voice never wavered, it never lessened. It always showed up. At a high school baseball game my senior year, I was having a horrible night at the plate. My final at bat of the night, THE VOICE hit me with STAY BACK AND GO AWAY! STAY BACK! Well, I stayed back and lined a triple down the right field line, and as I stood on third base, THE VOICE said SETTLE DOWN! I really never had to search for the source of the voice. It was like looking for the sun. Its just there. And there he stood, smiling. It was perfect.

Years later, I have run into the Dunlap family, and its always a homecoming to me. I am pretty sure that they don’t realize that they are deeply in my blessings corner, but they are. I see their dad in them, and I recall them in him. It hits me that he is a part of the coach that I am today. His words ring out, his presence is copied, and I remember to smile when I get their attention when I call out to them.

It was not until later in life that I found out that he played basketball for Maryland. It may or may not have made a difference since he was already larger than life anyway. But it did help make sense of his aura, he energy, and his person. It only made the whole persona thing make sense. He played for Maryland. It made sense.

What I hope is that some of you reading this are the Don Dunlap’s of your young peoples lived. I hope that you are the voice, the presence, the time giver, and the parent. I hope that you are loudly loving those who are near you, and that they some day tell people about you. I hope that David and Diane understand that I am thankful that their amazing dad shared himself with me, and me with them. I appreciate that I should be to others what he was to me. I hope that anyone reading this takes the time to be Donald Dunlap to someone.

Thank you, Dave & Diane. Thank you, Joanne Dunlap, for your constant gentle hands and heart. Thank you, Don Dunlap. Your voice is carried forward with me in your LovePrints. We all know that you are still with us. When we hear your voice, and think of your face, we look forward and up. That’s where you are.

You know your mission forward. Be someone’s voice. They are out there waiting.

Go. Love Out Loud.

Posted in Parents
Tags: , , , , , ,

LovePrints. Thank you. An uncle’s love.

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

Love in Action. Action in love.

This mornings walk had me clearly in a conversation with my late uncle, Melvin Harris, Jr. It was so strong and clear that I had to sit on a park bench in the middle of nowhere to gather myself. His LovePrint on me was strong and loud this morning. I could hear his smooth powerful voice, I could feel his hands on me, and I needed to be present in whatever it was. It took me several minutes to regain composure and try to get home and write.

I write from my heart. When my heart speaks, I try to sit and put those things into words so that I understand them, and myself. Maybe, you have someone who spoke to you, guided you, or directed you. For those people, I honor my uncle today.

Uncle Bro. (Said Uncle BRUH). He was this brilliantly witted, composed, incredibly funny man. He would come to Arlington once or twice a week, usually on weekends, and visit my family at my grandmother’s house right behind ours. He would bring three of my best friends with him, and along with his wife Clara, they constantly appeared to give me a clue about what families were about. We would cookout (someone please tell me the difference between a cookout and a bbq), play cards, watch sports, dance, eat, and laugh. It is where my love of of those things came from. Bro was the loudest voice, the biggest smile, and the maestro. While my grandmother hosted with the most-est, my uncle would orchestrate the energy like a maestro, setting the priority of the day with game watch schedules, card game order, judge and jury of teams selected to play, and usually the head of the table when all was said and done in the meals and the games played.

He was the ignition for my love for sports. His sons were my first true teammates and rivals at the same time. We would find our way to the playground to take on whichever of my friends were at the court, or on the football field. Well, by football field I mean Oxford Street, or Pollard Street, where we would play touch football. I still have the scars from catching my cousin Anthony’s post pattern and running into a parked truck, or the emotional scar of driving my cousin Adrian’s blue cat mini bike into the fence at Fort Barnard. They were generous enough to let me craft point guard skills on the basketball court, and helped master the whiffle ball knuckle curve. I have four older sisters, and my cousin Tina was one of two cousins who were the same and having younger sisters. And she earned it by taking the jokes of us all. I apologize now, Tina. Our bad.

We would leave the games and return to my grandmother’s house for what was always the best meal of the week. My uncle introduced me to THE BROILER. MY HEAVENS. He explained that pepperoni AND sausage was the true king’s meal. He explained the joys of eating a slice of pizza, a half of a steak and cheese sub, and the worlds best French fries. Or, he would stand regally over the grill out back, perfectly timing the hamburgers, steaks, and hot dogs to whatever temperature everyone wanted without missing a beat or sweating. He taught me the proper way to bowl, and introduced me to the Washington Senators, often driving all of the way to Arlington to get me to let me go with them to games at RFK Stadium. He always made sure that we went on Frank Howard bat day, or Senators batting helmet day. He also made sure that we understood what we were seeing and why we should go.

My uncle taught me how to count books in bid whist and spades, and gave me the handbook on properly execution of the final book when running a boston. (I am sorry that some of you got lost just now, but I will gladly explain it in private). My hand hurts just thinking about perfectly palming the big joker and bringing it above the head but not behind the ear to deliver it powerfully to my grandmothers good dining room table.

My uncle taught me to love my family even if it wasn’t a good family day. He is the constant reminder to love those around you whether they are yours or not, as though they are yours. He is the annual reminder of why I do not use fireworks, and the laughter I hear at any table of food. He is the standard of work ethic and love that I strive for.

I guess I just wanted to put it in the air that we all have the power to make lives better. This man loved me enough for me to remember him decades later. That, my friends, is a LovePrint.

Thank you, Sir.

Thank you.

Posted in Parents
Tags: , , , , ,

LovePrints – Love Class 101

Love in Action. Action in Love.

Love. Out. Loud.

I can not bury my lead. We need to teach love. Love of self, of others, of us all. We need to teach love of nature, of the planet, and of the world. Most importantly, the first thing first. Love of self. From that, love of everything else becomes easier. More comfortable. More consistent.

As a coach and mentor, I often find myself educating outside of the normal boundaries for the sport or topic that is in season. Sometimes, the classroom is the playing field. Sometimes, the playing field is the classroom. Often, the home becomes the classroom, and things get taught there that serve us all well no matter where we are or what we are doing.

In a perfect world, there would be a classroom for it. There would be a curriculum for it. There would be teachers and leaders of it. There would be fundraisers, seminars, and homerooms for it. There would be homework assignments, study halls, extra credit, and work study for it. There would be teams using it as the team name, teams chanting it as they play, and accordingly, chanting it as they win. There would be team captains based on it, MVP’s awarded because of it, and there would be celebrations filled with it at seasons end.

In a perfect world, coaches would coach it, teachers would teach it, and trainers would make it stronger. Announcers would announce it, the news would broadcast it, and churches would preach it. Grocery stores would stock it up, planes would fly you to it, and cars would be blasting it over the radio as we ride.

In a perfect world, parents will ask “how will you love my child?”. “how much love is in your life?”, “how much love do you have to give?”,  “Is your love, good love?”.

It would be the assembly of the year, hosted by the principal of the year, hosted at the school of the year, all because they loved more, loved louder, loved prouder, love more often, and loved out loud more than its rivals. The rivals would swear to love longer, louder, prouder, and better moving forward, because no one wants to be second in love, or last in love.

One day, a school will figure it out and offer it. Love 101, for beginners. Love AP for the high achievers, and Love College for the advanced and gifted. Of course, we would have to have Remedial Love for those who struggle with it, and tutors for those in greater need. And we would award and honor those special lovers with certificate and degrees in Loving in a higher level. We would give them letters behind their name so that the entire world would know that they are WHERE LOVE LIVES! Imagine that. Jane Doe, L.O.V.E.

I KNOW. Silly. Silly, silly, me. To think that love is important enough to be taught early, often, and completely.

I can dream.

Until then, go…

And as always,


Posted in Parents
Tags: , ,

LovePrints – Dear Parents

Great parents make great decisions. Great decisions make great parents.

The new school year is here, and with the new year is an opportunity to assist our young people in making this a successful one. Yes, success is relative to the goal, and I will offer a few suggestions here to help determine the goal, achieve the goal, and allow for a more connected, agreeable year academically for everyone.

Sit with your young people and determine what the goals are academically for the year. Some mistakes are made in making the grades the goal, but grades are the result, not the goal. Grades are the result of goals, planning, and effort. Grades are the result of goals made, committed to, and followed through.

Goal-Introductions between parent and teachers

Let the teachers know who you are, how to reach you, when to reach you, and give them the freedom to do what they do best for your young person. It can be a letter, call, email, text or face to face. This is a statement of commitment to your young person, and the teacher. One more post in the fence. One more boundary. One more connection.

Goal-Introduce yourself to your young person. Again.

I know, I know. Your kids know you. And, you know them. Take a few moments to remind them that you are there, you care, they matter, and that you love them enough to get on the same page with them before the chaos can exist. Let them know what you went through, reassure them of their ability to do well, and then agree on how you will approach the coming school year and all of its issues and concerns. Talk to them about homework, social media, friends, siblings, and bullying. Yes, talk to them about not being a bully, not allowing bullying, and what to do if bullied. Talk to them about classroom behavior, hallway behavior, and even locker room behavior. Talk to them about dealing with teachers, administrators, and other parents. Talk to them about safety concerns, how to deal with emergencies, and defining what an emergency really is. Where to go, who to call, what number to call, what to do if you can not be reached, and how to get back and forth from school.


This is a hole that needs to be quickly and proactively filled. Do this immediately. Figure out how you will know homework assignments given. Determine a plan for scheduling big projects being handled, a plan for following up with each other when assigned, when worked on, when work is done, and how it went. Make a point to check in weekly with the student and the teacher. This prevents 23rd hour scrambling to get projects done, getting projects handed in, or even running last minute for items needed, researching done, or dropping off at school on the designated due date. Make a plan for the daily assignments due today, tomorrow, and this week. Settle into a pattern of following up and knowing current standing with each class. NO surprises if we are always aware and connected.





Goal- Time management

Each student has 168 hours to get done whatever is scheduled for them. Each student has the same 168 hours. The 4.0 + gpa student has the same 168 as the 1.5 – gpa student. It is what they do with that 168 that determines that gpa number. Having a study plan will make it easier to succeed, and will help the student, teacher, parent, and coach understand where time is spent, where to find more time, and what areas require more time. The greatest excuse for academic failure is “I do not have enough time”. The truth is simply “What are you doing with your time?” Manage your time, schedule your time, check in, and stay connected to where your time is spent. Spend it wisely, and be aware of it.

Goal- love

Love daily. Love often. Love loudly. Love unconditionally. Love to boundary if needed, love to guide in advance, and love to make sure that they know that they matter. While you are at it, love the teachers too. They deserve it, and will appreciate it.

If you need a study plan, there is a plan on under 168 plan. It details the weekly check in and connections between student, teacher, parents, and coaches. It is a complete plan for time management, updates, and forward goal setting.

Welcome Parents!

Great parents make great decisions. Great decisions make great parents.

I hope this helps. Good luck in your decisions.

Posted in Parents
Tags: , , ,

LovePrints – HBO Real Sports on Youth Sports Business

Love in Action. Action in love.

Answer me this:

If you spent 140 weekends on academics, could you achieve almost any academic standard? Earn an academic scholarship?

If you spent 140 weekends studying one hour vs the 4-8 hours spent playing games, wouldn’t you earn your way into college?

If you saved and invested the $150,000 it takes to coach, travel, fee up, equip, and support youth sports, rather than pay for play , wouldn’t you say both your bank account and academic bank be fuller?

I am not against the business of youth sports. Make your money coaches. What I am asking is to consider another way. Consider using your money to pay for college. Or use your time to pursue the 98 percent chance off the field rather than the 2 percent on. Consider time spent on the better chance rather than the rare chance. Education and knowledge are proven life enhancers. Sports can provide opportunities to further education. Sports can provide lessons outside of the classroom. What I would suggest is that if you aren’t 7 feet tall, or run a 4.2 40 yard dash, or jump through the ceiling, or have a 95 mph fastball, or fingertips made of glue, maybe, just maybe, you can put time and money into your brain.

If you use those years between ages 10-17 to improve academically, you will probably get the paid for college opportunity you dream of. If not, you will still have all of the money you put into travel ball, coaching, and tournaments. Those 140 weekends are important. Those $150,000 are important too. Important enough to consider using them both more wisely, and for the greater good.

Posted in Parents
Tags: , ,

Parents. One word. Two letters. No.


Great people make great parents. Great parents make great people.
Love in Action. Action in love.
No. N. O. Two letters. One word. Powerful. The answer to several questions, and maybe the greatest thing a parent can say to their young athlete.

Coach DP in action Woodson Football

There are tremendous advantages in the freedom provided in the word no. No can be the most wonderful of standard setters. No, you may not do less than your best. No, you may not settle for less than your dreams. No, you may not be lazy. No, you may not take the easy route. No, you may accept less than your worth.
No, I will not go talk to your coach. No, I will not let you switch teams. No, this time you could have done more. No, I still love you. No, I still want what is best for you. No, I can not do this for you. No, your teacher isn’t wrong. No, I will not allow you to do that.
I make daily efforts to be the king of YES. Yes, you can. Yes, you will. Yes, you are. Yes, you should. Yes, you could. A pat on the back, a look in the eye, a smile in chaos, or a hand on the shoulder. Yes,  in the grand enabler for those in need. No serves a great purpose. It is a pause. It is a needed change of thinking. It is a suggestion of another way. It is the pointing in a different direction. When used properly, it is a needed re-route to YES. It is the new way. It is the better way.
No can be an acknowledgment that your young person is growing. It can be a flashing light that their bright eyes are searching for more, or looking for better. It is the whistle that calls for attention, it indicates a need for another voice. Another thought. No can be the simplest statement. It can also be the loudest.
No can remove doubt, elevate goals, and increase desire. No can move a young person off an idle position, and into a decisive one. It can take indifference and cause a change of energy and reason. No can be the reason why, the reason how, and the answer to whatever the other questions are. No can cause more questions, lead to more answers, and indicate a void of a valid and absolute either.
No can be a babysitter, a mentor, a teacher, or a muse. It can be the engine of inspiration, ambition, and success. It can be the key to understanding, appreciation, and motivation. It can be the stop sign, the caution sign, or the detour. It has strength. It has reason. It has a way.
Do not be afraid of your no. If used properly, and lovingly, it leads to YES.
Have it at. Just say no.
Posted in Parents
Tags: , ,

LovePrints go a long way. Ed Hunter and the Hunter Family

Thank you is such a simple thing to say. It always means more than the two words themselves. Always.
Great people make great families. Great Families make great people.
One of the reasons why I started LovePrints was to be able to say THANK YOU to people for who they are, what they have done, and what they are doing. These are people who did something along the way to form my life as it is. Some did these things on purpose, out loud, and directly. Some did so in my sight line and path, and in the shared path, became a part of my journey. I have said repeatedly that I am covered in LovePrints, and I will continue to share the good people who did this.
As most of you know, I am proud of my beginnings. I was raised by a community of family, friends, teachers, and coaches who barked when needed, smiled often, guided with firm yet gentle hands, and gave me a well lit path to walk on. Some did so without realizing that they had an army of young people following them. Or maybe they knew, and simply made it look like they didn’t. What I can tell you is that the neighborhoods that I was raised and ran in were diverse, colorful, and loving. They were also full of people who taught by doing, who were constantly present, and cared enough to tell you what you needed to know rather than what you wanted to hear.
I talk a lot about the Black Knights community, the family and families, the brothers and sisters, and the teammates. The Black and Gold always managed to make the world seem large and comfortable at the same time. The names meant something because of the people that carried and honored them. And the families extended beyond the games, the fundraisers, and the colors. They extended into homes, playgrounds, parks, and fields. Among the names, Hunter was one that shines for me, and there are several reasons. The Hunters were a family. They were friends. They were my home away from home, and a landmark to my life. The beauty of this is that there are several families that could and will be talked about. Today, I want to focus on this family.
From first to the last, this family was always present. No matter if i was playing games, watching games, coaching games, or working games, they were present. From mom to daughter to brother, in family and friendship, always present. To provide light, direction, and advice. From keeping score, drinks for the teams, snacks for the coaches, and a pat on the back no matter how those games went. Always present.
At the top of this family is Ed Hunter. Coach. Dad. Pops. Sir. Always present. Always a transport. Always a wave from the corner house. Always a boundary. Always there to keep the lights on. Always there to give structure. Always there to give advice. Always there to growl if he saw something beneath you. Always there to smile if you were being a better version of yourself. Always there. Always.
The same can be said for the family, as could be said for many of the Black Knight families. But Ed, Karen, Eric, and Stacey are a great example of LovePrints. Theirs are all over Arlington County, and beyond. I would be failing if I did not use this space to tell them so. Ed, you made the county home for many. You made it better. I am saying thank you for a lot of us. You deserve it. Thank you Hunters, one and all.
Posted in Parents
Tags: , , ,

Why sports camps? Why not?

Some folks are going to be mad at me for this, but here goes.

Summer months are upon us, and athletes, parents, coaches, and camp directors are all barking. I have to go to this camp! We need for you to go to this camp! You need to be at this camp! My camp is the best camp!
Are they all right? Are they all wrong?
Probably not.
Here are a few questions for each and every one of those athletes, parents, coaches, and camp directors.
Which camp teaches them how to love themselves?
Which camp teaches them to study?
Which camp teaches them how to love others?
Which camp teaches them how to recover from the other camps?
Which camp teaches them what to eat in order to excel at these camps?
Which camp teaches parents how to pay for all of these camps?
Which camp guarantees paid education at the next level?
Which camp answers the question, “Which camps should I go to?”
Which camp answers the question “Why do I need to go to camp?”
Which camp teaches the athlete to choose a college or university?
How many people get scholarships from which camp?
Who gives scholarships based on which camp?
How much money should parents spend on camps?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to take camp money and save for college tuition?
But i feel the need to ask one more question (which, of course, leads to several other questions for you to ask and answer).
Why are there so many camps?
One question leads to another.
I have worked every kind of camp, in four sports, and all over the country. Every level from little league to professional, and I still do not know the answers. I am a teacher of sports. I do not get rich off of it, nor do I try to. I give more time than I am paid for, and I have always found that both the athlete and myself get more from the training when its about the person, and not the game. Yes, the game is important, but the person is the thing. No matter the game, or the talent, or the reason, none of the others matter if the person is not formed, fueled, with foundation, and with a family of folks to boundary and rebound to. Great people make great coaches, and great coaches make great people. The same can be said for Bad people and Bad coaches, and it correlates to athletes and families. Great people make great athletes, and great athletes make great people. Great families make great people, and great people make great families. It seems to me if we spent more time on the people, the other things become easier, healthier, and the purpose.

Dwight Howard and Coach DP

I know that some coaches will crinkle their noses at the idea of someone asking why. Why is the leading reason for uncomfortable athletes, parents, coaches, and directors. It is the easiest way to identify great athletes, parents, coaches, and directors. Ask them why. Why are they going to camp? Why that camp? Why that coach? Why that athlete? Ask. Is it money? (That sound in your brain is the movie version of a record scratch, and everything pauses.) Do you know….WHY? Do you know why? Does the athlete know why? Are they an honest and legitimate candidate for being a star high school athlete? Yes, i said star. Because that is who has a chance to play at the next level. STARS. Are they going to get better at the game, or to be seen? Are they going because they love playing the game, or competing? Are they on a job interview for college? Why are they going to personal coaches and trainers? Why?
Why are the parents sending/paying for/taking the athletes to these camps? Why those camps? Are they free? Is this for the athlete or the parent? Here’s a real thing: Take all of the hours and dollars training, praying for, begging for, and events missed because of these camps and training, and then add them up and ask, WHY? Why not apply those to academics? Why not apply them to community? Why not apply them to the heart of the human being? If it is out of joy, love, or passion, excellent. But if the why is any other reason, why not gather all of that up and direct it to the thing that will help them in live 99% of the time? Yes, the odds of making it to college, any college, at any level, and getting that money and time back to break even (lets not dare that it would be a financially profitable situation, because, 99%). Wouldnt it make more sense to build a better person, rather than focus on the athlete? As I said before, great families make great……you name it…

Coach DP and Bradley Beal 2015

Why are the coaches taking your money to train and at camps? I am the first one to say, get your money. Get paid your worth. But, GOOD MONEY cant come from bad work. If your why is money, the purpose has tarnished the kool-aid. If your why is love of athletes, parents, the game, and the money, then we are in business. We all know that for most (99%), the money is not good, so you better have more than money as a reason to get up and leave home. There has to be a better why to get you to coach in 90 degrees three times a day, or stand in the cold, or the rain, or whatever it is pain in the neck your game hands you. Your why has to be better people, or you are not doing service to other people, the most important ones, the ones in your life.
Why are the camps in business? Well, that was easy
i was asked to work several camps, all run by different schools, sponsors, coaches, and parent groups. I asked some why’s, and the usual response was “because that is what has always been done”. I then asked “why?” again, usually with the same response. Why is there no academiic mentor or tutor at the camp, but there are t shirt vendors? Why is there a little league kicking coach, but no academic mentor? Why is there pizza, and no salads? Why is there no post camp stretching? Why are the parents not talked to, but there is time for autographs and pictures? Why is there no video for each athlete when obviously each athlete, parent, and camp director have already shared emails and cell phone numbers? If it so important for your child to be there, why is it no important enough for you to be there?
Lets go back to the beginning. Who is left to take these hot summer months and turn our young people into great people who happen to be great athletes? Who is teaching them to learn, love, and purpose? Who is giving them value of self and others? Who is going to teach them how to take care of themselves and others? Who? And, why?
I hope that if you are hosting a camp this summer, you are giving the athletes something to leave with other than a receipt.
If you are going to a camp this summer, I hope that you leave with a love of the game you play, and yourself.
If you are sending an athlete to camp this summer, I hope that you go with them.
And, know why.
You will. And, you now know why.
Great people make great…….summers.
Go. Be great.
Posted in Good Sports, Parents, Students
Tags: , ,

Please follow & like us :)

Follow by Email

Enjoy this story? Share with friends :)