In a sports world that has been hijacked by political drama, off-field legal issues and $495 sneakers, it’s nice to come across some news in your feed that makes you smile. Yesterday, that happened to me.
Hopefully reading this does the same for you.
While scouring Twitter looking for Hawkeye news, I stumbled across this tweet:
What an amazing day! Working with LA Charger's Safety, Desmond King on his debut children's book! Coming this summer! pic.twitter.com/7adYgLtFgk— Tyrus Kendrix (@TyrusKendrix) May 31, 2017
I quickly reached out to Mr. Tyrus Kendrix — an author and pastor from Detroit — to learn more. He explained how former Hawkeye and current Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Desmond King and his mother are working on a series of books with him based on Desmond’s childhood. His mother, Yvette Powell, pulls stories from articles, awards and other real-life experiences, while Desmond gives more detailed input on the stories along the way.
Mr. Kendrix then graciously referred and connected me to none other than Yvette Powell herself, so I could learn more about these books. I contacted Yvette and she agreed to do an interview with us at Black Heart Gold Pants.
Here’s how it went:
BHGP: When did you and Desmond decide that you wanted to tackle a project like this?
Yvette: Well, actually, that was my surprise to him. I had been working on it for about a year. When I was done with the first one, I showed it to him and he said “Momma, when did you have time to do this?” But I told him this was something I’ve been wanting to do, just watching him grow. We (Yvette and Kendrix) would have conversations about what was important to me at certain points in Desmond’s life, Desmond would tell him more specifically about what happened and we came up with our own story for children.
BHGP: Give us a brief summary of what this first book is about and the overall moral of the story.
Yvette: The overall moral of the story is that no matter what your obstacles are in life, never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. It’s to push you in your direction, instead of saying “no, I’m not good enough” or “I’m too little” I call them “the naysayers.” Never let them run your life.
BHGP: It is a children’s book, which I’m interested in as a parent, because I always like anything that gets my kids to read. As we know, struggles don’t end as kids, they follow us into adulthood. Do you see parents appreciating this story as they read it to their kids?
Yvette: Yes. It takes a village to raise a child. And knowing we had a lot of people who helped out, that’s what I wanna do. I want to help the kids explore different types of stories with their reading. A lot of kids need help right now, and that’s what we want to do: help the kids.
BHGP: So this first book sounds like a story about never giving up. Desmond, as you know, was always called things like “undersized” right up until the NFL Draft...
Yvette: Yes, all his life. That’s one of the reasons why I came up with the idea. He was always the shortest one on the team, but he had a big heart and he felt like he was one of the biggest players on the team. We would always encourage him not to give up just because they said he was too little, and he would go out and prove to them that it didn’t matter what size he was.
BHGP: Do you think part of that was why he felt so comfortable with Iowa? As we know, Iowa is a big-time program, but it’s not one of the blue bloods like Michigan or Ohio State. Do you think Desmond and Iowa are both similar in that respect, both being big time players who carry a chip on their shoulder?
Yvette: Yes, he actually told me that he felt like he was with family when we met Coach Parker. I told him “God won’t send you anywhere unless you’re ready.” I just felt that he would do it out there, and he did — he made everybody proud. And the University of Iowa? I love that school. I got sad when it was his last game, because it is a family atmosphere and they do reach out, get the kids to perform, and want [them] to graduate.
In the end, I just want kids and parents to understand the books are not just about Desmond. There’s a lot of kids out there who might need to hear a message of hope. A lot of people give up too easily, and we don’t want that. We have to encourage our children to go out there and do their best. They’re our future.
BHGP: Absolutely. When can we expect the first book to be published? Can we expect to see it available on Amazon or other outlets?
Yvette: The book will be out soon, probably the end of this month (June). We’ll have a website where people can pre-order it. We’re working on getting it on both Amazon and on Desmond’s NFL website, that way the fans will know where it is, and it’ll be easy to find.
We here at Black Heart Gold Pants are proud to support this venture from one of our favorite former Hawkeyes and definitely one of our favorite team moms.
Though it could be argued as to whether or not athletes should conduct themselves as role models for kids on a daily basis, there’s little argument that the world is a much better place when they actually do.
We’ll keep you updated on the release of the first book, I May Be Little, But I Play Big, and make sure to let you where to pick up a copy (or several).