Urban Meyer will be home for dinner

August, 8, 2012
8/08/12
1:30
PM ET
ESPN the Magazine's Wright Thompson has the story of OSU coach Urban Meyer's commitment to balancing life and family:
Before you join Urban Meyer, who is walking toward the exit of the Ohio State football office, there's a scar you need to see. A few years ago in Gainesville, his middle child, Gigi, planned a celebration to formally accept a college volleyball scholarship to Florida Gulf Coast University. It was football season, so she checked her dad's calendar, scheduling her big day around his job. As the hour approached, she waited at her high school, wanting much, expecting little. Some now-forgotten problem consumed Meyer, and he told his secretary he didn't have time. He wasn't going. His beautiful, athletic, earnest daughter would have to sign her letter of intent without him. Meyer's secretary, a mother of four, insisted: "You're going."

Eighty or so people filed into the school cafeteria. Urban and his wife, Shelley, joined their daughter at the front table, watching as Gigi stood and spoke. She'd been nervous all day, and with a room of eyes on her, she thanked her mother for being there season after season, year after year.

Then she turned to her father.

He'd missed almost everything. You weren't there, she told him.

Shelley Meyer winced. Her heart broke for Urban, who sat with a thin smile, crushed. Moments later, Gigi high-fived her dad without making eye contact, then hugged her coach. Urban dragged himself back to the car. Then -- and this arrives at the guts of his conflict -- Urban Meyer went back to work, pulled by some biological imperative. His daughter's words ran through his mind, troubling him, and yet he returned to the shifting pixels on his television, studying for a game he'd either win or lose. The conflict slipped away. Nothing mattered but winning. Both of these people are in him -- are him: the guilty father who feels regret, the obsessed coach who ignores it. He doesn't like either one. He doesn't like himself, which is why he wants to change.

Read the rest of Thompson's story here.

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