By: Jeff Crandall
Entering his 10th season with the Chicago Fire, midfielder Logan Pause is someone we’ve seen grow before our eyes with the club.
Selected in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Pause went on to make his first appearance for the Fire at age 21, just a month into his rookie season. From his debut on April 19, 2003 in DC, Pause has won two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, moved into second all-time on the club’s MLS regular season appearance list with 227 games played and was named Fire captain to start the 2010 campaign.
All milestones for the Hillsborough, NC native were reached by the age of 30. Perhaps though, one of his greatest was of a more personal nature. Wrapped in the chaos of his 10th preseason camp, at least some of Pause’s head at the start was back in Chicago with his pregnant wife Vaneesha who was due to give birth to the couple’s first child sometime during the team’s third phase of camp in Charleston, SC.
As Pause chatted with his wife from the team’s base in Ave Maria, Fla. on the morning of Tuesday, January 31, the couple learned the valuable lesson that sometimes babies have their own schedule…
“I was talking to my wife just minutes before walking out to training,” recalled Pause. “With them being an hour behind us, I was talking to her in the morning and was on the phone with her when she said, ‘I think my water just broke.’
Somewhat similar to Steve Martin’s rush to the hospital in Father of the Bride Part II, Pause immediately jumped into “soon-to-be-parent” mode, immediately rushing into action to find the most immediate route back to Chicago.
“The timing of everything was pretty amazing,” he explained. “As soon as I got off the phone I was on Travelocity looking up flights. It was 9:40 am and there wasn’t anything available there until like 3pm. I remembered that Southwest flew from Ft. Myers and every single flight but this non-stop flight leaving at 11:15am was booked. I called [our Team Administrator] Ron Stern and he booked the flight for me and Michael Mastandrea, one of the volunteers from Ave Maria drove me quickly to the airport.”
Arriving at the airport at 10:45am, Pause had an easy go through the security line after leaving everything but his wallet, phone and iPad in the Ave Maria dorms. The generosity of others gave him a pass through the handicap section of the line by telling those in front of him his wife was in labor and sprinting a bristling pace to make his flight, he was able to lock down a seat in the first row to enable another quick sprint through the Midway terminal upon his Chicago arrival.
“I talked to V before taking off and she said there was a chance they’d have to go in and get her. You just say your prayers and obviously hope that she and the baby are ok, that you’d make it on time. I landed at 1pm and she hadn’t given birth. I ran through the airport, got in a cab and got to the hospital around 1:45pm and at 3:27pm Isla Grace was born. I got to be there for the last remaining moments going in and it was amazing, a total miracle that I got there in time.”
Having the birth of your first-born child hanging over your head while away in preseason doesn’t make for an easy time and according to Pause, the couple hadn’t even contemplated her arrival while he was in Ave Maria.
“The baby came five weeks early so we were more focused on what Charleston was looking like and what was the quickest way to get back. We didn’t process her coming as early as she did. It was amazing though, a couple days before Isla was born, guys were down in Ave Maria asking me the schedule and how Vaneesha was feeling. I remember saying to them she technically can come at any time and she did just that, she came on her own schedule.”
Pause was allowed to stay with his family through the end of the team’s stay in Florida and the beginning of the phase two camp in Ventura, Calif.
Re-joining the team on Valentine’s Day in California, Pause was thankful for the coaching staff’s patience in allowing him to be with his family while recognizing the competition that exists for spots in the 2012 Fire midfield.
“The two weeks that I was at home were amazing. I’m very grateful to Frank and the staff that I was able to spend that time with my family, for understanding what it meant. To be honest I knew that’s what I needed to do and whatever kind of repercussions or consequences, I would take head on and accept.
The staff has done a great job of constructing our roster to make it as competitive as possible. Just because I was gone, it doesn’t make it more or less competitive. Every single day we’re all competing for jobs – a spot in the starting lineup, a spot in the 18 and so on and so forth. That doesn’t really change and I know that my absence might result in me needing to work my way back in but I welcome that, I needed to be with my family at that time.”
Most importantly, baby and wife are doing well and have had the help of Pause’s mother to aid while he’s been away.
While every photo text of baby Isla reminds him of what he’s missing at home, the Fire captain recognizes the role of being an athlete.
“It’s hard being away like this but this is the job. I’m here, I’m ready to work and focused on what our task is this season.”