Take one for the team

This is one of those columns that will probably make people feel sorry for my wife.

Once again, she’ll be portrayed as that poor girl who could have done so much better.

Still, some things just have to be put out there.

This weekend a couple of friends of mine missed key football games because they were, dare I say, pandering to the women in their lives.

One friend wasn’t among the 4,200 plus at Naranche Stadium Friday night watching Butte High beat Bozeman in a huge Class AA football game. It seems he was having a birthday party for his lovely bride.

Another friend missed the Orediggers’ once-in-a-life time — or at least once-a-year — double-overtime victory over Southern Oregon. He was celebrating his anniversary with his much better half.

Since these two guys didn’t let their teams down on the field, I supposed they should get a pass for such joyous occasions. I don’t understand their actions, but I won’t give them too hard of a time.

Even though their actions fall somewhere in between cheerleading and sending a text or email with a smiley face on the list of things guys shouldn’t do, I’ll give them a pass.

All I’ll say is life should never come down to a choice between what your significant other wants or football. There are plenty of hours in the day for both.

What I really can’t understand is professional athletes nowadays are actually allowed to take paternity leave when their wives give birth.

That some players are actually taking such leaves doesn’t prove that modern-day players are softer than the men who used to play the game. The fact that a player would even be allowed to openly think about it already proves the Wussification of pro sports is already complete.

For one thing, there is nothing a guy can do in the delivery room that is more important than playing second base for the Red Sox. Or the Yankees, Cubs or Mariners. Or Anaconda A’s.

Whatever happened to being there for your teammates? A playoff berth could be lost because a key player takes a few games off for a child birth, which are way more common.

Plus, it’s not like these woman didn’t know what they were getting into. It’s not like after three years of marriage, Dustin Pedroia’s wife is going to say, “I can’t believe you’re going to miss our blessed occasion for a baseball game” as she lives comfortably in the mansion paid for by his playing baseball.

Most of these wives married their professional athlete because he was a professional athlete in the first place. You think a 5-foot-7 bald guy like Pedroia is going to score a hot wife if he is a plumber?


OK, ladies, before you go all “Oh no he di’int” on me, you should know that I a prince of a husband and father in the delivery room of all three of my children. I held one of my wife’s legs all three times, and I didn’t complain once when she dug her fingernails into my arm. Not once. And it really hurt.

Still, all three times I left the room in trouble because that is a can’t-win situation for a man. If I had the excuse of playing center field for the San Diego Padres at the time, she couldn’t be mad at me. Man, I wish I played center field for the Padres.

During the birth of our last baby, I got in trouble because I allegedly fell asleep on the couch in the delivery room and I may or may not have missed the breaking of the water while my wife cried in pain.

I had a perfectly good explanation, and my wife, who played the role the judge, jury and executioner, wouldn’t even take my argument into consideration. She overruled my objection before I could even object.

For one thing, I was working nights then, and we went to the hospital really early in the morning. When I asked  — politely, I might add — if I could be excused ever so briefly so I could go get a really big Mountain Dew, I was denied without her saying a word. She just gave me that how-dare-you look.

When our  boy was born a couple years earlier, I was trying to sign up for NFL radio on my laptop computer because the Bears were playing the Raiders later that day and I hadn’t missed a Bears game in 10 years at the time.

The fact that I was missing a game for her went completely without a thank you. I figured letting me listen to the game while the doctor told her to push wasn’t that big of a deal.

Another thing is that I should mention was that the Wi-Fi at St. James Healthcare was very spotty back in November 2007. So it wasn’t my fault that I had to divert a lot of attention to the computer. It’s not like I was capable of administering the epidural anyway.

Still, my wife had the audacity to talk to me just like Sigourney Weaver talked to Bill Murray after she became possessed in Ghostbusters. Through her clenched teeth she said, “Put! That! Computer! Away! Now!”

Oh, to live in the good old days when guys went to the bar and handed out cigars while the women delivered babies. The guys of my father and grandfathers’ generations sure had it made, and it was all because they were man enough to stand up to their women — even when they were going through an experience that would turn even the sweetest woman into a monster.

Now, professional ballplayers are willing to trade way a perfectly good excuse like being paid millions of dollars to play a game to skip all that? That is unbelievable. I would have played for free.

Major League Baseball now allows players to take 24 to 72 hours away from the team so they can be with their wives — or girlfriends — when they give birth.

Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis was the first player to do that last year, and many, many more have done it since.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, whose wife just gave birth on an off day, even said he planned to skip a game if he had to. Wow.

I wouldn’t skip one of 162 baseball games for such a joyous occasion, let alone one of 16 football games.

Of course, I’m a guy who missed my wife’s birthday dinner — three years in a row — because it happened to fall on the night my team had a city tournament softball game. And I was easily the worst player on my softball team.

Sure, the wife gave me a solid month’s worth of silent treatment each time. But at least my teammates knew they could count on me to try to stop that ball before it went into right field.

Now excuse me, I have to run.

Just in case that vasectomy didn’t take, I have a tryout with the San Diego Padres.

— Sportswriter Bill Foley, who is trying really hard to convince himself that getting a vasectomy isn’t wedged between a smiley face and cheerleading on the list of things a guy should never do, writes a column that will appear in ButteSports.com every Tuesday. twitter.com/Foles74