Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The price of success

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has a nice piece today on Billy Donovan, head coach of the national champion Florida basketball team. He sums up what Donovan has done at Florida succinctly: "He's a machine, Billy Donovan, never stopping, never resting. He is the single, solitary force that has turned Florida into the hottest basketball program in America."

But a price has been paid; Wetzel documents the state of Donovan's family life:

"Donovan is quick to spread the credit for Florida's ascension to the top of the sport, but for all the talk about his boss and about facilities and commitment, this program is Billy Donovan's creation. These titles are the product of Billy Donovan's relentless pursuit of perfection.

"The sacrifice," said his wife, Christine. "So much sacrifice through the years."

You can't count the missed time with his wife and kids, the skipped dinners, the vacations that never happened. You can't fathom the extra days on the recruiting trail, the early morning workouts and all-night film sessions and the constant, 24-hour-a-day concentration on his job. Even in a business filled with Type-A personalities, Donovan simply overwhelms much of his competition.

He used to talk about how even when he was home he wasn't home – a cell phone constantly pressed against his ear, his mind on some practice plan not his kids. He used to say that he didn't even know how to enjoy the victories until the net was clipped, until a title was won."

I think it's likely the same story could be told of many of the world's high and mighty in all walks of life. I have a hunch that to his kids Donovan is just a guy who pays the bills. I could be wrong...

No comments: