Denmark’s national football team splurged on a jet for their teammate Jonas Knudsen so he could fly back home to see his newborn daughter. Despite the fact that the team is competing for the World Cup, arguably the most prestigious and intense soccer competition that there is. Despite the stakes being extremely high, the team felt that it was more important that Knudsen get a chance to see his child rather than wait until the competition is over.
Realistically, Knudsen shouldn’t have even missed the birth of his child to begin with. Had everything gone according to plan, Knudsen would have left Russia way ahead of his daughter’s birth. But Knudsen’s wife went into labor weeks ahead of when anybody thought that she would, forcing the Danish defender into this difficult conundrum.
“We wanted to look at the human side,” said Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. “There are lots of fathers in the squad. You have to remember we are human beings as well as footballers.”
Schmeichel went on to explain that, as a father himself, he couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for Knudsen to receive the message that his wife had given birth without him there, especially on a day when he should be celebrating his team’s 1-0 victory over Peru. After making the trip, Knudsen was able to rejoin his team the following Monday, without missing a match.
While what the Danish team did for Knudsen is no doubt a beautiful gesture, it isn’t one that many professional athletes might be afforded. At the end of last year Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins Facetimed into a team meeting while his wife Julie was giving birth to their first son.