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Sunday, July 09, 2006

John Madden, Hawaii, and Job Insecurity 

John Madden's fear of flying is well known, as is his former use of trains, and current use of motorhomes, to get from one football game to another. But leave it to Wikipedia to point out one result of this fear:

As a result, Madden has never worked commentary during a Pro Bowl game; they are held in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.

A possible explanation is also offered for Madden's fear:

It is thought that his fear is at least partially related to the October 29, 1960 crash of the plane carrying the Cal Poly football team. As a recent Cal Poly graduate and football player, Madden was just two years removed from that team himself, and thus a number of those who perished in that tragedy were his former teammates.

But Madden isn't the only person who doesn't care for planes:

Businesswoman Marci Smith can pinpoint when things began to unravel at her last job. Two years ago, she boarded a flight in Atlanta en route to an important business meeting in Philadelphia.

She panicked at the thought of the looming airplane trip and began to cry. She got off the plane and rented a car to drive to the meeting, which, to the deep disappointment of the import company that employed her, she missed.

"Things went downhill from there, and I resigned" last May, Smith said.

In fact, Madden isn't the only football commentator who is affected by this:

Tony Kornheiser is one prominent aviaphobe who could hardly be more open about the terror that flying instills. Kornheiser is a broadcaster and Washington Post sports columnist recently hired by ESPN to provide color commentary starting in September when the cable sports network begins broadcasting Monday Night Football.

As he was deciding whether to take the job, a major boost for his sports journalism career, Kornheiser anguished publicly about the air travel that would be involved. He ultimately accepted the job but is making plans to take a private bus to as many games as possible.

Recognizing the difficulty of getting to West Coast games, the 57-year-old Washington, D.C., resident says he's consulting a psychiatrist to combat his fear of flying. He longs to overcome the phobia.

"I've had a fear of flying from the moment I first stepped on a plane in my 20s," he says. "There are so many places I'd like to go to, and I would love to get there quickly."

As for me, I don't have any fear problems with flying - I've taken two cross-country trips in the last month. I admit, however, to being a little leery when I boarded a plane in October 2001 to go to Canada for an international police conference. Luckily, the terrorists didn't get us.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Semi-related alive chimpanzee post here.
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