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COLLATERAL KIDS: UNWELCOME STATS IN PRO-SPORTS


by Ellen Makkai
September 2, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

Those guffaws floating over Colorado on Sunday morning didn’t come from the comic strips in The Denver Post but from the Sports section. With stunning velocity, Denver Bronco Travis Henry is racking up statistics not usually charted in professional sports; he has scored nine illegitimate kids with nine different women.

Henry is outdistanced, however, by former NBA Houston Rocket Calvin Murphy who had 14 out-of-wedlock children by nine women. Of course both are lapped by super-stud and premier athlete Seattle Slew, the Triple Crown winner who begat 1,066.

But in contrast, Slew’s progeny were planned and a source of pride celebrated by enthusiastic owners. Not so for the 23 children from Murphy and Henry’s dalliances. They were unexpected intruders - the offspring of feel-good micro-moments in the lives of men who treat women and sex like a carnival ride.

These youngsters won’t be cuddled and favored by a proud papa. Their unintended arrival makes them little more than irritating monthly support-checks and fodder for stand-up comedians.

It’s not easy being a collateral kid. You’ll never see Dad’s smile at a dance recital or on a soccer game sideline. Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re invited, is awkward. A birthday gift might show up if Dad remembers the date…and your name.

Pro athletes are always screwing around. Sports Illustrated reminded us in May, 1998 of the burgeoning number of illegitimate kids born to sports superstars. Visit an airport before game day and witness the cleavage that awaits a team’s arrival. There are countless vulnerable and/or stupid females dazzled by the money, muscles and glamour accompanying these modern-day gladiators. They willingly spread their legs in the vain hope of elevated status and a secure connection with their chosen professional hot-shots.

Former NBA star Shawn Kemp has sired seven illegitimate children by six different women, boxing champ Evander Holyfield has at least nine by seven, National League Baseball great Steve Garvey fathered two illegitimate kids by two different mothers. Former Buffalo Bill Willis McGahee faced three paternity suits in two years. New England Quarterback Tom Brady recently dumped pregnant Bridget Moynahan, his main squeeze of three years, for supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Little Jonathan Brady arrived last week anyway.

“No matter how much love or money Brady showers upon this son…the child will remain separate, an asterisk, alongside the family [Brady] will eventually have,” writes Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis.

So just how do you train fatherless kids? What’s included in their game prep? They compete with a distinct disadvantage and no previous experience. Rejection makes for a brutal coach. Injury is assured and sibling rivalry is expected to be fierce, not to mention the nasty posturing between various mothers. Odds for personal one-on-one time with Pop – zero.

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As these reckless fathers mature and move on to focus on legitimate families, their misbegotten children warm the bench. Unfortunately the wait will be long and participation isn’t guaranteed. In the long run, Dad will never consider them better than second-string, - an unearned designation received before they ever had a chance to play.

© 2007 - Ellen Makkai - All Rights Reserved

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From 1985 to 2002, Ellen Brewster (Makkai) wrote for several major metropolitan editorial pages, a well-known website, Creator's Syndicate and a national Christian publication. Her columns provided a counterpoint to the vast majority of secular writers who frequently discount or insult the faith community. The small feature, "Bible Byte," offset daily horoscopes in one local newspaper.

Website: EllenBrewster.com

Contact Ellen: Write to Ellen


 

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It’s not easy being a collateral kid. You’ll never see Dad’s smile at a dance recital or on a soccer game sideline. Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re invited, is awkward. A birthday gift might show up if Dad remembers the date…and your name.