Thursday, June 16, 2005

Baby Vs. Championship...You Make The Call

I heard an interesting discussion this morning on the Mike and Mike morning show (ESPN Radio). With the U.S.Open this weekend, they were talking about some of the most memorable Opens from the past. They spent a lot of time on the 1999 Phil Mickleson/Payne Stewart finish, where Stewart sunk a putt on the last hole to win (and, interestingly enough, to finish as the only player in the entire field with a score under par...he was -1).

Mickleson's wife was very pregnant at the time, and it was entirely possible that she would go into labor during the tournament. He somewhat famously said that if she went into labor during his round, regardless of where he was on the leaderboard he would drop everything, walk off the course, and go to the hospital.

I always liked that quote. I have my values, and I'm sure not everyone shares them, but I think family should always come first. How many times will you have babies born? While the child won't remember whether or not you were always will. I'd hate to miss the birth of my future children.

Anyway, the radio show turned into a "What Would You Do" debate, and there are some really valid reasons for both decisions. They mentioned one player (I don't remember who) whose team was in the Super Bowl while his wife was about to give birth. The freaking Super Bowl! What if you're Tom Brady, your team up by 3 at halftime of the Super Bowl, and your wife calls to tell you she's going into labor? In the immortal words of Keanu....what do you do?
Tom Brady may be a bad example, as he's won so many times he might not have the same compelling need to play the whole game. But you get my point. If you're an athlete, competing in your sport's big championship (U.S. Open, Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, etc.), would you stay and play (and miss your child's birth) or would you drop everything and go to the hospital?

I think I would, but one of the reasons I think this is a fun question is that there's not a clear-cut right or wrong answer. There are legitmate reasons for either decision. Do you let your teammates down who may never be in the championship again or your wife who may not give birth again? Which lifelong highlight moment do you want to miss...the big game in your beloved career or the creation of a life?

I have a few friends that are recent fathers, and judging from what they say, they'd not hesitate to drop everything and go to the hospital. Of course, I'm not a father yet. I'm not even married yet. So it's tough to say for sure one way or the other until I get there. But it's an interesting/fun sports dilema.

Or it's not and you guys think this is lame, which is totally possible too. Maybe I was too bored this morning, waiting for a ride at the auto mechanic's, and had too much time to think. Maybe I just wanted to blog again and couldn't think of anything better. But I found it a nice diversion. I was just curious to see how you guys would react? I'd remember it forever if I won the Super Bowl, or even played in it. But I'd regret it forever if I missed my kid's birth.

A side note: man, I really miss Payne Stewart. Not because I knew him and we hung out or anything...I didn't and we didn't. But he was one of the most fun-loving, colorful players ever in the world of golf. He was great at it, and he died way too young.


At 6/16/2005 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Kevin Rector said...

As a father of a 17 month old boy and a daughter that will be born some time in the next seven days I can say with no hesitation that there is NOTHING in this world that would cause me to miss the birth of my child short of being kidnapped or getting murdered/killed.

At 6/16/2005 11:24:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Wow...well this certainly would be a tough decision, and like you, have never been in this type of situation, and I think you could just as easily put yourself in this situation if you are not an athlete. Like, maybe you have the biggest presentation of your life that makes your company millions of dollars while your wife gives birth...something like that.

I believe this has to be a family decision because, what is your ultimate plan for your family? If I'm a hotshot quarterback and I decide to skip the Super Bowl, then my career may be over. I'll be branded as a quitter. A number of people have flipped out around Super Bowl time (and granted, for more notorious things) and they never were the same player after that. They have this label on them forever that they let their team down when they needed them the most.

Now, why is this a family decision? Well, if you can live without your sport, have something to fall back on that you could enjoy doing, then by all means, witness the birth of your child (there's no guarantee that you'd be branded for life anyway). If you are dependent upon that sport, however, the consequences could be dire for your decision. If you have no degree, well, I guess you could always live off your savings, go to college, and get a "real" job.

Put me in the situation. Well, I'm a deadbeat dad I guess because I'd probably play in the Super Bowl. The birth is a momentous occasion, but there's going to be a lot of things you are going to miss over the years, and being a good father doesn't mean you had to be there from minute one. I'd certainly skip out on all the celebrations (or the quiet, sorry-for-myself losing locker room).

In fact, wouldn't it be dramatic to throw the winning touchdown with no time left, bask in that for about two minutes, then run through the tunnel with your gear still on, get into your BMW, and then take off towards the hospital?

Here's another thing: How about safe sex during months that could result in a pregnancy that would end during a championship month? Baseball players could practice this in January, football players in April, etc. Oh well, that's ridiculous I guess.

At 6/16/2005 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Kevin Rector said...

Well, your last paragraph Chris isn't that ridiculous at all. Intelligent family planning is an important thing and if I were a football player you better believe that I would be very hesitant to have sex if it could mean a child would be born on Superbowl Sunday. Accidents do happen, but they don't have to.

At 6/16/2005 12:47:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

You speak of baby accidents like you have some experience.


I agree, though. If I were Tom Brady. I'd avoid having unprotected sex nine months prior to the Super Bowl. Well, I like to think I would...he is dating Bridget Moynahan. But we're not talking about avoiding sex. We're talking about avoiding unprotected, non-birth-control sex.

So, yeah. I'd try to be aware and careful to avoid that kind of conflict.


Post a Comment

<< Home