Some things are more important than a game — like family.
When it comes to professional athletes, few things are as memorable as a game day — especially when something big is on the line.
A new video by Just Not Sports features Charles Tillman and Greg Jennings, two former NFL stars with enviable careers. In it, the players are asked if they can name the event just based on being given the date.
Some dates, such as Tillman's performance in Super Bowl XLI as a member of the Chicago Bears or Jennings and the Packers' January 2011 victory in the NFC Championship Game, were easy for them to remember. Other, more obscure games from the middle of a season, were, understandably, a little trickier for them to recall.
But there are some dates you just don't forget — like the birth of your child.
Without hesitation, the two players recalled the dates their children were born. They remembered being in the room and how special that moment was; they wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Last month, Cincinnati Bengals star A.J. Green found himself with a similar choice: miss a game or miss the birth of his child?
The wide receiver announced that if his pregnant wife were to go into labor on a game day (her due date was at the end of September), he'd choose his family over his team. As it worked out, his son was born on a Wednesday, and he didn't have to miss a game.
Still, these are the types of questions that not just athletes, but all working individuals have to prepare themselves for.
Unfortunately, it's not always an easy choice to make. Fans, teammates, and coaches aren't necessarily on board with a player skipping a game for any reason, even the birth of their child.
In 1993, Houston Oilers lineman David Williams missed a game to attend the birth of his first child. The reaction was brutal. Fans and coaches alike criticized his decision to miss out on the team's game against New England. While it's certainly less likely these days that a team would come out against a player publicly, the pressure to play hangs heavy.
A recent Pew Research report showed that out of 41 countries surveyed, the U.S. is the only one that doesn't offer any government-mandated parental leave. While new parents may have read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" cover to cover, one thing they still might not expect is not being financially stable enough to take time away from work after giving birth. A quick glance at online forums for moms- and dads-to-be shows this is a really tricky situation.
But in the end, we all need to be able to make decisions about what's important in life, and there should be as few barriers as possible to do that.
You may think that it's easy for an NFL player, a millionaire, to make the decision to skip a game to be at the birth of their child — and maybe it is, comparatively. Many people don't have the ability to take unpaid time off work, and unfortunately, there's no mechanism in place for parents to receive paid leave in the U.S.
But that's exactly why paid parental leave — for mothers and fathers regardless of whether their new child is one they gave birth to or adopted or was born via surrogate — should be made a reality in this country. No one should have to miss the birth of their child, and no one should have to miss those important first few weeks of life. Whether you're a football star or a sales clerk, you shouldn't have to miss out on life's most important moments.