Whatever you might think of Urban Meyer as a football coach – and judging from his work at Florida, Utah, Ohio State and Bowling Green, he’s a pretty good one – you have to admit he has a terrific family.
They loved him so much they demanded he sign a “Pink Contract” before taking his new job at Ohio State. The document – written in longhand on ruled, pink stationery – required him to fulfill certain family obligations and placed limits on the amount of time he could spend at the office.
They drew up the Pink Contract because at his prior gig at Florida he came close to working – and worrying – himself to death. Although he won a pair of national championships with the Gators, he also suffered weight loss, violent mood swings, insomnia, chest pains and emotional estrangement. He was hospitalized for what he thought was a heart attack. He retired once, only to feel compelled months later to jump back on the coaching treadmill.
This time, after more than a year off the field that saw dramatic improvements in his health and personal life, his family wanted to make sure the vicious cycle did not crank up again.
Thus the Pink Contract, under which Coach Meyer agreed to the following conditions:
- My family will always come first.
- I will take care of myself and maintain good health.
- I will go on a trip once a year with Nicki - MINIMUM.
- I will not go more than nine hours a day at the office.
- I will sleep with my cellphone on silent.
- I will continue to communicate daily with my kids.
- I will trust God’s plan and not be overanxious.
- I will keep the lake house.
- I will find a way to watch Nicki and Gigi play volleyball.
- I will eat three meals a day.
It’s a safe bet that few, if any, other head coaches at a Division 1 college have signed such a contract. Even if they have, it’s not likely to be found prominently framed on their office wall, as Meyer’s is. He put it there as a reminder of where he’s been and what he must do to avoid returning there.
Practicing law and coaching football have much in common.
Both jobs are stressful and competitive. Both require long hours and serious commitment. Both emphasize winning – and pay great financial rewards to those who do it regularly and spectacularly.
And both can get out of whack in a heartbeat.
The key is balance. Are you spending too much time at work? Neglecting your relationship with your spouse or life partner? Losing interest in things that once brought joy? Missing your children’s piano recitals and ballgames? Seeing your health go down the tubes?
Run – don’t walk – to the nearest office supply store and buy some pink stationery. Begin drafting your own Pink Contract. Do it voluntarily – before your family and loved ones show up one day and demand that you sign theirs.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.
Source: ESPN Outside the Lines