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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is faceTime with the Content Guy, reporting this week from Denver, Colorado.
I'm standing outside Coors Field, and thinking about a small baseball-related controversy that broke out back in New York last week. It concerned Daniel Murphy, the New York Mets second baseman, who became a father for the first time just before Opening Day. He took three days of paternity leave to spend time with his wife and newborn son, missing two games, including Opening Day, and earning him nothing but criticism from a couple of local Neanderthals…er, radio sportscasters.
First Boomer Esiason said on WFAN that Murphy should have insisted that his wife have a Caesarean section early enough so that he could have been on the field Opening Day. And then on the same station, Mike Francesa said that people like Murphy make enough money to hire someone to help his wife out, and that fathers are pretty useless right after childbirth, anyway.
What a couple of yahoos.
I have three children, and while I would never argue that dads are critical to the childbirth process, I do think it is sort of important that we be there. There's two reasons - first of all, we need to be there so we can have some appreciation of what our wives are going through and be as helpful as possible, even if that means just getting ice chips. And second, this is our child being born … and this is just the beginning of a lifetime of responsibility for that child, and we damned well ought to be there.
Maybe these guys missed it, but the culture has gone through a change. We live in a world where, if you are a father, actually being a father is your first responsibility. And I thought that Murphy - who handled the whole situation with utter class - did absolutely the right thing and had his priorities in the right order. He was entitled to the paternity leave because of the terms of his contract, and in spending those days with his wife and son, he demonstrated to a lot of people - not least the young boys and girls who look up to him because he's a major league baseball player - what is important and what isn't.
To his credit, Esiason apologized after it all hit the fan. No surprise, Francesa - who is the very definition of a New York blowhard - claimed that his comments had been taken out of context.
There's no question that some people - a lot of people - can't afford to do what Murphy did. I get that.
But as someone who has done the fatherhood thing three times, I can tell you that you can never get those first days and hours back. There's always another day to go to work.
Lately, I've found myself a little wistful for those early days. Maybe it is because two of my kids have moved away and one is in college and just a few short years from being off on her own. Maybe it is because I'm getting old. But I find myself looking at young families and wondering where the time went and hoping that I didn't screw up my kids too badly and almost wishing I could go back in time and do it again.
Years from now, when he looks back, I can guarantee that Daniel Murphy won't look back and wish he'd gone to work right after his son was born. No, he'll look back and decide that being a dad - really being a dad - was the best decision he ever made.
Anyway, that's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: