We used to think that John Madden was a big dope for spending hours driving all across the nation in a bus instead of hopping on a plane and skipping from city to city. We used to think that Tony Kornheiser was a complete wuss because he basically injects himself with horse tranquilizers before boarding. Then we hear another horrifying in-air turbulence story and we realize that those two morons might be onto something.
The USC football team was headed to South Bend for their game against the Fighting Irish when the weather turned nasty and the plane went for a wild and unexpected detour. If USC football thought Vince Young was a bad dream come true, they were about to find out what real nightmares are all about.
There was a moment there when I was thinking, ‘This is it,’ ” Dennis Slutak, USC’s director of football operations, told The Los Angeles Times.
USC sports information director Tim Tessalone told The Associated Press on Friday that some passengers were thrown from their seats by turbulence as lightning cracked around the storm-tossed aircraft about 9 p.m. Thursday.
“It was a little bit of a roller coaster drop there for a minute,” he said. “We had some people fly out of some seats. Everybody is fine, but it was a frightening little dip there.”
The pilot aborted the approach and circled around the storm before landing without incident about 20 minutes later to the relief of the shaken team and the spouses of some staff members also on the flight, Tessalone said.
Safety Taylor Mays said he was screaming.
At their hotel, senior defensive end Lawrence Jackson said he was going to see the team trainer because a Popsicle stick had pierced the inside of his mouth during the drop.
“That was terrifying,” fullback Stanley Havili said. “I thought I was going to die.”
Quarterback John David Booty said, “It wasn’t the worst flight I’ve ever been on, but it was definitely the biggest drop.
Lighting cracking, safeties bellowing, Popsicle stick puncture wounds, contemplations of mortality: it’s all real my-life-is-flashing-before-my-eyes type stuff. Granted, the doors didn’t come flying off the hinges, but it is still gripping narrative. But we gotta wonder, was this just a case of `wrong place, wrong time’ for the Trojans or is there really something to this whole “Touchdown Jesus” thing Notre Dame’s got going?
[MSNBC]: USC rattled by turbulent flight to South Bend