MALE PRO ATHLETES aren’t known as great family guys. Loyal to their entourage of buddies? Yes. Attractive to swooning groupies? No doubt. But when it comes to wife and kids, the many great husbands and dads out there are too often overshadowed by the deadbeats. That’s why it was refreshing when almost the entire sports world rose up in opposition when former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, now a sports-talk personality, declared that a New York Mets player shouldn’t miss Opening Day because his wife had given birth — and added that the family should have just scheduled a C-section before baseball season began. Esiason was roundly lambasted for his retrograde ideas about birth and paternity leave, and that’s encouraging; as a culture, we’ve developed a greater understanding about the risks of C-sections and the importance of fatherhood. Still, only about 15 percent of companies offer paternity leave, but pro athletes can help send the message that even on an important work day, a dad’s place may be with his family.
GEORGE W. BUSHwasn’t the most reflective of presidents: He famously declined to admit to any mistakes. But now he’s deeply engaged in the most reflective of hobbies — painting, and portraits, to boot. On Saturday an exhibition of Bush’s work opened at his presidential library in Texas, featuring images of the world leaders he knew. Rather than offer charcoal sketch-style likenesses, Bush engaged in a visual exploration of his relationships with his subjects. Thus, Tony Blair, a stalwart ally, is presented as somber and upright, wheras Vladimir Putin is depicted in a more mishapen, abstract way — which Bush says was an attempt to capture the Russian president’s worldview. Bush’s use of a different medium to offer his impressions of an eventful eight years in office is a revealing contrast to the flood of ghostwritten accounts that usually inundate bookstores after public figures retire