Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cory Lidle Is No Terrorist

This afternoon, after hearing news that a plane crashed into a New York City high-rise building, I was glued to the news. I listened to the story with great attention as it developed. From the moment the story broke, fears of the incident being an act of terrorism rarely subsided. Why did the FAA say it was a plane, while eyewitnesses said they saw a helicopter? We all, including Chuck Scarborough all felt doubt that this was not intentional. That is, until we learned that Cory Lidle was the pilot of the plane. Then, we all relaxed, felt sad for Lidle, who was obviously a new pilot who had lost control of his new powerful plane and accidentally and tragically crashed his plane.

Now, I am not saying Cory Lidle, the man who pitched for both and the Yankees, was a terrorist. But I think it is a very interesting statement about our "relationship" with professional athletes. We really belive we know these guys. But what do we really know about Cory Lidle, just because he was a pitcher for the Yankees? How do we know he wasn't an Al Qaeda sympathist, or just a maniac? Just because we saw him pitch on TV?

The more we learn about the story, the more it does in fact seem like it was an inexperienced pilot who lost control of his too-powerful plane. We read tragic quotes from him, from just a month ago, where he talks about how safe flying is, and how safety features are in place, and that even if an engine died a pilot could still land safely. But I just wanted to take this moment to think about our emotional connection to the players we watch on TV. We like to think we know these guys, based on interviews and media accounts, and just watching them perform. But, when you think about it, it's kind of silly.

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