SBD/August 16, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Weekend Plans With AVP Owner Donald Sun: Start The Season, Hang With Daughters

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Sun makes sure his family is a priority during the AVP season
DONALD SUN may have been something of a mystery man in the world of pro volleyball when he bought the AVP in April '12, leaving his father's company, Kingston Technology, in the process. But as the '13 AVP season begins in Salt Lake City this weekend, he is a far-from-inconspicuous presence on-site. He arrived in Utah Monday night. In fact, he plans to be on hand at every AVP event this season, save one. Tournament weekends take on a distinctly less relaxing format for Sun than typical weekends at home in Newport Beach, Calif. But even when the AVP is in full swing, time with his family -- wife STEPHANIE and daughters OLIVE (11) and AILEE (9) -- remains a priority.

NICE AND QUIET: On the weekends, I like hanging out with my family at home and doing little things like cooking together, even watching TV together or going out to the beach. Monday through Friday gets pretty hectic, and I feel a little remorse when I’m cutting into family time during the week, because the phone doesn’t stop ringing after 5:00pm. I would say I cherish the weekends more now. Before, being at a tech company, I was part of the management team, but I was part an organization 4,000 people strong. I could always defer to upper management. And now it’s all on my shoulders, so I cherish the weekends a lot more.

KID STUFF
: On a typical weekend day, I’ll get woken up by the kids. They’re already watching TV and have made their own breakfast, which I wouldn’t say is the healthiest of breakfasts (laughing). Maybe they’re sneaking some candy here and there. But we will get ready, figure out what we’re going to eat for that night. Then we’ll go grocery shopping together, or do a little bike ride, or they will have a friend over. Occasionally, we will bring some of our friends over for family-style dinners. It may be kind of vanilla stuff, but that means the world to me. From a child-upbringing philosophy, after a certain age, they’re gone and doing their own thing. So I have this time to really enjoy them. At least for now, they are a little dependent on their family. It’s always hard for me to balance. You have to work and support them, but at the same time, you don’t want to miss out on anything. That’s always been a struggle. I don’t think they think of it that way, but I do.

I'M ON A BOAT
: Every year we go to Lake Powell (on the Arizona-Utah border), which I’m looking forward to next week, to go houseboating with my friends and my family. I have a timeshare on a 75-foot houseboat with really nice amenities. That’s like my getaway from the world, because you don’t have any cell reception. I look forward to that every year, but especially this year, once (the Salt Lake City event) is done. I’ll be at all of the AVP events this season, with the exception of next week at Manhattan Beach because I had already planned the yearly sojourn to Lake Powell a year ago. There’s nothing I could -- well, there’s obviously something I could do about it -- but I’m not going to (laughing).

CENTER STAGE
: All week leading up to Salt Lake City, I will oversee operations there, making sure that our foot soldiers on the ground are doing marketing, getting everything ready and prepped for our first event of the season. So, I’m excited but actually nervous. It’s like your first performance. My wife is going with me. I can’t ask for anything better from a spouse, because she’s been nothing but supportive. … Everything will be pretty much done by Thursday. It better be done by Thursday (laughing).

SANDS OF TIME
: I played high school indoor volleyball. And then during the summer, the most fun for me was going out to the beach or finding a sand court. I would just go out with my friends, and whoever else was out there, we would just compete on the beach, two-on-two. It wasn’t like it is now. At universities, they have women’s sand teams now. I mean, it is serious stuff. For us, it was just for the love of the game. That may sound stupid, but it really was. You would just go out all day, check out the girls, check out the waves. Every week, they always had a telecast on Prime Ticket or something about the AVP. I would listen to CHRIS MARLOWE’s voice and PAUL SUNDERLAND, and I would just get enthralled and intoxicated by these gladiators on the sand duking it out. I would have delusions of grandeur that one day I could play on the AVP. I was a pretty good high school player, but nowhere near what they could do, especially now that they are even more superior as athletes. I never thought I would actually own the brand and be part of the reshaping of the division.

SUNS AND DAUGHTERS: I tried to get the kids interested in volleyball. We took then to camp this summer and I play with them sometimes in front of the garage. I don’t know. Maybe it’s an age thing. But I’m still trying.
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