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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Balancing act between fans and family

By espnW

The Miami Heat expect Chris Bosh to join the team Thursday night in New York for Game 3 against the Knicks after his wife had a baby early Thursday morning in Miami. When athletes have to choose between a highly important game and the birth of a child, what choice should they make?

Seeing baby is no-brainer

By Adena Andrews

Which is more miraculous, the birth of a child or lifting the Larry O'Brien championship trophy?

I'll take birth of a child for $300, Alex.

A trophy can't hug and kiss you, a trophy can't soften you with one giggle and a trophy certainly can't slobber on your finger in that cute way a baby can.

Winning a championship, or in Chris Bosh's situation a playoff game, is really just a part of his job. It's another day at the office, with a championship being a really good promotion.

On the other hand, a child is a natural miracle and a part of you. Making that first eye contact with your mini-me is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Winning "the big game" seems to come around at least three times a year. We, including those of us in the media, hype these games and make them seem more important than anything in the outside world. However, there is a bigger world with better prizes to be had.

Also, missing one game is nothing; female athletes miss months of their season to carry and birth a child. One extra flight to see your newborn is the least a male athlete can do, and he shouldn't be chastised for it.

Do the math

By Jim Caple

Rather than agonize over such a difficult question -- do I listen to my wife scream at me during labor or my coach scream at me during practice? -- I suggest a simple solution: Avoid this situation altogether.

As best I recall from my junior high health classes, we now know what causes pregnancy, and how to prevent it (Travis Henry, however, was evidently sleeping in class). We also know how long a pregnancy lasts. I therefore suggest that athletes forgo sex without contraception whenever they are within nine months of a possible important game, such as a playoff or late-season game that might determine a postseason berth.

Chris Bosh and Wife
Chris Bosh's wife, Adrienne, gave birth to a healthy boy at about 3 a.m. ET on Thursday.

For NBA and NHL players, this means no unprotected sex between the months of June and September, which would leave the months of March through June risk-free of a delivery date. (The June ban should be no issue for hockey players, given that their playoff beards will be enough of a sexual turnoff by then.)

With only one game per week, NFL players might be able to get away with year-round unprotected sex, though they should avoid it on weekends in March, April and May, just to be on the safe side.

Baseball players should avoid unprotected sex in December and January (though with Bud Selig constantly stretching out the postseason, they might want to avoid it in early February as well). Naturally, players in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Seattle and the north side of Chicago don't have to worry about this at all.

This really should not be a big deal. If WNBA players can plan their pregnancies around the season, other pro athletes should be able to do so as well, even if they are men.

Of course, to really avoid this dilemma AND best assure that your team has an important late or postseason game, players should simply heed the advice of that noted obstetrician, Mickey the boxing trainer. As he told Rocky, athletes should abstain from sex completely because "women weaken legs." Although I'm not sure this is backed up by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Teammates take the Heat

By Kate Fagan

I don't even consider Chris Bosh's decision debatable. Of course he should leave the Heat to support his wife and witness the birth of his son.

We seem to forget, because for most of us sports is an escape, that for these athletes it's a job, and I know very few employers who wouldn't grant a leave of absence for such a momentous life event. It's possible that Bosh's performance will suffer because of the additional travel, lack of sleep, and whirlwind of emotions. But that's a small price to pay for a life-long memory. Plus, this is the Miami Heat we're talking about -- Bosh has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to shoulder the extra load. Pretty sure everything is going to be A-OK for Miami, even if Bosh shows up exhausted and distracted.

Baby beats game

By Sarah Spain

Let me start by saying I'm terribly unqualified to make a judgment call here. I can't really speak to the miracle of childbirth, as I'm a single thirty-something with no kids and I don't have the capacity to remember the glorious day when my parents welcomed me into the world. And while I have devoted most of my life to sports, playing through college and now recreationally, I've never competed on the professional level or had a game or meet as important as, say, an NBA playoff game.

That being said, this seems like an easy call for me. The birth of a child happens once. It's a precious moment in time that shouldn't be missed for any reason. Teammates, coaches and fans should understand if a player needs to miss a game to be with his wife. When athletes celebrate a title win, they usually say the moment of victory was the happiest of their lives besides their wedding day and the birth of their children. While I'm sure that earns them a ton of brownie points, I believe it's the truth, too.

Baby beats game, any day. And if, by chance, an athlete's wife is due to give birth the night of Game 7 of the World Series or the day her husband's running in the final of the 100 meters at the Summer Olympics, well then maybe they should schedule an induced labor a few days earlier. You can do that, right? Like I said, I'm not an expert on these things.

Family comes first and second

By Amanda Rykoff

In the non-sports world, fathers take time off from work for the birth of a child and even take paternity leave to be with newborn children and nobody bats an eye. But in the sports world, if a professional athlete chooses to miss a game to be with his wife or significant other for the birth of a child, it causes a kerfuffle. If an athlete chooses to prioritize family over competition -- even an important playoff game -- it is the athlete's prerogative to do so.

Last year, Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis missed a start in April (albeit very early in the baseball season) to be with his wife in California for the birth of their second child. Lewis was the first player to take advantage of Major League Baseball's paternity leave rule, which took effect in 2011 and gives players 24 to 72 hours off for the birth of their children. Dallas Observer writer Richie Whitt said of Lewis' decision: "If it was a first child, maybe. But a second child causing a player to miss a game? Ludicrous." I found Whitt's reaction to be ludicrous and would say the same thing if Lewis had chosen to miss a playoff start, even in Game 7 of the World Series. The birth of a child represents an important moment and I'm not going to tell him he's got his priorities out of whack.

Professional athletes, including Colby Lewis and Chris Bosh and many others before and after them, will miss many moments with their children on the road as a result of their jobs. If they want to take a day to be with their wife/significant other for the birth of a child, I have no problem with that.

Game can't compete

By Melissa Jacobs

Marrying a professional athlete comes with inherent sacrifices. You are likely to have a plethora of missed birthdays and holidays and should probably not expect to share cooking duties. However, the event with mandatory participation from your husband is the birth of your child. Had I not recently had a child myself, I might not fully understand the non-negotiable nature of this experience.

The reasons to be there are obvious -- for support, the interesting anatomy lesson and the unexplainable emotions you feel when the new life you helped create is born. I cannot imagine being Chris Bosh or any other elite athlete, but I guarantee no buzzer-beater or championship ring can compete with that moment in the delivery room.

What really drives my viewpoint are the ramifications that would come from being absent without undeniable reason. The missed opportunity for a new level of closeness with your significant other. The guilt you may feel when the athlete years fade and you become a mere mortal. The jolt of bliss you will not experience. It is all unfathomable, really.

So unless you are in the military, have to rely on Zach Galifianakis a la "Due Date," or, like a certain New York cornerback, are forced to choose between multiple births occurring simultaneously, be there.

Life trumps basketball

By Jane McManus

Some people really love their team, but if you've gotten to the point where you don't think a guy like Chris Bosh can drop everything to be there with his wife when their child is born, you need to reevaluate your priorities.

So it's only recently been accepted that a pro athlete can miss work to be there for the birth of a child. And I love the new math that has resulted. Can you miss for the second kid? What if it's a deciding game? What if it's your eighth baby, a deciding Game 7 on the road, you are the team's leading scorer and your No. 2 just put his hand through a pane of glass in anger?

Then what?

One thing trumps basketball if you are a player. That thing is life.

Even the pros get to take time -- whether it's a sick parent, the death of someone close to you or, the sweetest of reasons to have to miss a work obligation -- the birth of a child.

You know the old saying, no one gets to their deathbed and wishes they'd spent more time at the office? That counts even if your office is a basketball court.