The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 6, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Steep price for success

MORGANTOWN — There is a price that is paid for success.

Normally, it comes in the form of simply sweat and the aches and pains that go with driving yourself to reach the top.

Sometimes, it is accompanied with tears.

West Virginia University’s Final Four basketball season was considered a success, perhaps as successful a year as any by any WVU major sports team since Jerry West led the 1959 team to the NCAA Finals.

You will recall there were tears then, too, Jerry West’s tears as his team lost to California by a single point.

Those, though, were different tears, not the kind that came this year.

In many ways, the tears this year bubbled to the surface in what should have been a celebration of that success, of winning the Big East championship, of beating Kentucky and coming within an eyelash of capturing the national crown.

There were the tears that came with Da’Sean Butler, who on Tuesday night at the team’s basketball banquet was announced as the team’s most valuable player for the second year in a row.

These were tears of joy, yes, for seldom has any player reached the levels Butler reached. He was the engine on one of the greatest teams the school has ever fielded. He was a warm, caring, wonderful figure, a student and an athlete. He gave of himself to others, for others.

Yes, to and for others. This is no me-first athlete going through life taking without giving back.

Who could ever forget what he did during the NCAA Tournament, just after the Mountaineers had beaten Kentucky? Word reached Butler then that a woman, Agnes Channel, 74, was in Ruby Memorial Hospital, having suffered a heart attack while watching the game.

Butler took it upon himself, following a pre-Final Four interview session, to visit Agnes Channel in the hospital.

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