I read a story of loss this morning.
It had a powerful impact on and in me.
It was not about a medal table or a game, it was about a person.
The story resonates powerfully with conversations I have been having with a group of coaches over the last four years. It is a story about absence, love and family.
The storyteller is Mladen Jovanovic.
Mladen was appointed a strength and conditioning coach at Port Adelaide Football Club for the 2016 season. He moved from Qatar to take up his appointment.
I am immense admirer of his approach to life. This makes me particularly sensitive to his story of loss.
I hope you make time to read his story. It is a powerful antidote to mechanistic and investment in excellence approaches to sport performance.
Mladen is leaving Australia to be with his son in Serbia:
I decided that seeing my son twice a year was not a stellar career I wanted to make and I have decided to put him and his needs first, over any job. I am by far not the greatest father, but at least I am more around him now. Deciding to get back to Serbia, where everyone wants to leave out, was not an easy decision to make, but being around family beats all the drawbacks …
I am delighted for him that he has made this decision.
I do believe family and love define all of us. For too long in high performance sport, we have normalised the immense cost of being involved in the daily training environment.
I am optimistic that Mladen and his son will flourish by being near each other and sharing those wonderful early years of play and exploration.
Mladen’s career will blossom too.
Losing is finding.
Staircase (Nikos Koutoulas, CC BY-NC 2.0)