The mention of Rafael Nadal in this Bob Evans post reminded me of a short section I had written for a book but not published before. It is about Barcelona's legendary school, La Masia which graduated 7 of the Spanish players who helped the country win the 2010 World Cup and superstars like Lionel Messi and yet is as much about academics as athleticism.
"La Masia enrolls 200 or so students a year, many as young as 7. Many move away from their parents and learn Barcelona’s distinctive “poetry” - style of short, rhythmic passing and ball control for long minutes. They learn the mix of “total football” made famous by Dutch football great Johan Cyruff, and traditional Spanish one-touch play (tiqui-taka). They also benefit from some of the best nutritionists, trainers, teachers (they spend more time in class than on the field), computer technicians in the sport. Being one degree of separation from Messi, Xavi and other graduates provides its own inspiration."
What does have to do with Larry?
Well, Larry is a big tennis and Nadal fan and into whole bunch of other activities, but he has a vision for a school which sounds awfully like La Masia's
"Think of a high school that’s two-thirds Stanford and one-third Naval Academy. It would have been a private school, but with 80 percent of the kids on full scholarship, a student recruiting program to ensure high academic and athletic standards plus diversity, a student orchestra that would make Juilliard proud, and a superb athletic program—the kind that wins state championships. The kids would wear uniforms, and of course, everyone would learn how to sail. We’d go out and find talented kids, get them taught, coached, mentored, and off to college"
Bob's post has other quotes and episodes which provide more of an insight into the man. There are tons of people who have never been within a few miles of Larry but have a hardened view of him. Not sure it will sway them, but it is a good read about what drives one of our industry's icons.