For much of the past week, Washington Galaxy D Leonard Wright’s attention has been divided. On one hand, he has been focused on helping his team notch crucial wins and keep pace with Hershey atop the East. On the other hand, he’s been keeping a close eye on his phone, waiting for news from his wife Meghan, who was pregnant with their first child.
“Talk about bad timing on our part,” joked the defenseman. “I was hoping we could have [the birth] during the offseason, but when the docs set her due date right at the end of the season, I started freaking out a little.”
As a loyal teammate, Wright was loath to abandon his teammates at a crucial time of the year. “I asked the docs if there was any way we could delay things for a couple weeks, especially after it was clear the race was going to be tight,” said Wright. “When Meghan heard me say that, she just glared at me.”
Faced with the possibility of exile to the couch, but also balancing the demands of a tight race, Wright and his wife struck a compromise: if she went into labor while he was at a game or on the road, she would be prepared to have the baby on her own, and he would come to see her in the hospital at the soonest opportunity.
“It wasn’t ideal,” said Wright, “but it was the best we could come up with.”
Wright kept quiet about the impending birth and focused on the pennant race. However, he wasn’t able to avoid the attention of Galaxy coach Rodney Reagle, who noticed that Wright was checking his phone far more than usual.
“I know everyone thinks I’m a space cadet,” said Reagle, “but I do notice some things. And I could tell something was up with Leonard. I thought I remembered him mentioning at some point that his wife was pregnant, so I put two and two together.”
After morning skate on Monday, Reagle asked Wright what was going on. After an initial denial, the defenseman admitted that the baby was due any day now, but vowed to stay with the team regardless. The coach wouldn’t hear of it.
“I told him he was being an idiot,” Reagle said. “We’re going to have plenty of important games in Leonard’s career, but he’s only going to have his first kid once. I told him if he wasn’t there, he’d always regret it. I basically ordered him to go to his wife when it was time.”
Not only that, Reagle contacted Meghan and the hospital and asked them to keep him informed, so that he could make sure his player left when the baby was on its way.
During morning skate on Friday, Reagle got word from Meghan that she was going into labor. He immediately made an announcement over the practice facility’s PA: “Leonard Wright, please report to your home immediately! Your wife is going to have the baby! Get going, dummy!”
Wright hurriedly dashed to the locker room amid applause and catcalls from his teammates. He made it home in time to take Meghan to the hospital. That evening, she gave birth to a daughter, Lillian. Mother and child are both doing fine.
Wright missed that night’s game against Quebec, but he admitted it was worth it. “Coach Reagle was right,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything, not even a Vandy. I’m really glad he made me come.”
Meghan also expressed gratitude to Reagle. “He’s a really great guy,” she said. “He couldn’t have been nicer to me when we talked. It’s great to know there’s a coach out there who puts family first. I’m so grateful to him.”
Reagle sent flowers and a Galaxy onesie to the new parents. “I’m glad it was a happy ending for everyone,” he said. He expressed only one disappointment. “I asked if they would name the baby after me,” the coach said. “But I guess they thought having a girl named Rodney would be weird.”