This past Saturday, Rex Ryan, head coach of the NY Jets caused a stir in New York City by skipping out on the last day of cuts and going to see his son dress for a college football game at Clemson. His son is a walk on for that team.
If you aren’t familiar with “cut day” for the NFL, it is when all teams must get their rosters to 53 players. This day was Saturday, the same day as the Clemson football game.
According to one NY reporter, “his trip to watch his son play is ‘big F.U. to all of the players,’ that coach was going to watch son play…Ryan shirked his professional responsibilities for personal ones.”
Did he shirk his professional responsibilities for personal ones? According to ProFootballTalk, “Ryan had permission from the Jets owner to attend the game.”
Let’s say it is true and he had permission to attend the game. The question becomes if it was a wise move.
From the perspective of a father, the answer is yes. They didn’t decide who was being cut that morning. Those cuts were in the process all week. It isn’t like Rex Ryan could not be reached if something came up.
How many times does your son dress for his first college football game? Once. You can’t replace that. I still remember my first college soccer game that I dressed for. I was so excited about it and my dad surprised me by driving 5 hours one way to see it. Right when the game was over, he drove 5 hours back because he had to work the next day. And I played 0 minutes in that game, but he was there to see me dress. I had accomplished one of my goals and he didn’t miss it.
That’s choosing what matters.
If you are a dad, you have professional responsibilities and personal responsibilities. Everyday is a balancing act of those 2 worlds. There are times you won’t be able to get back. The “first” experiences your kids have of anything is one of those. Being at games, recitals, plays, concerts, don’t come around again. As a father, every choice you make with your time and your family has enormous implications for years to come. Every adult can look back on their childhood and see the absence or presence of their father and know this is true.
I would say, as a father, Rex Ryan made the only choice that should have been on the table.