Smooth Turbulence

“Strap in,” said Daniel Sedin as he boarded Air Canucks Tuesday morning. “It’s going to be a bumpy one.”

Not cool. Not cool. Not cool.

“Why do you say that?” I inquired, eyes bugging out of my head.

He pointed towards the cockpit with a look of fear in his eyes.

Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.

Henrik Sedin, a self-proclaimed ‘bad flyer’ walked past a few minutes later and I told him I heard it was going to be smooth sailing.

“Really?? I heard the opposite. Like bad. Real bad. This might be the last sandwich I ever eat!” he said, eying up a peanut butter and jelly delight.

He was clearly toying with me and in that moment, the torch was passed.

I’m officially the most nervous nelly traveling with the team.

Clutching the armrests, preparing for a roller coaster of a take-off annnnd nothing. Smooth. A pebble of a bump here, a sliver of up and down there – that’s it.

“The rough air has moved on,” was the report that made its way through the plane.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

A pilot once told me to compare turbulence to driving on a gravel road in terms of it being a necessary evil. A few bumps never hurt anyone, right?

That feeling in the pit of my stomach during turbulence says otherwise. As do the Sedins.

After a combined 30 years in the NHL, 2,347 games played, 1,937 points and nearly 2,000 flights (not including pre-season or playoffs, or international play, or flights home to Sweden) they still aren’t keen on air travel.

“I’m better,” smiled Henrik, in the lobby of the hotel in Glendale, Arizona. “I’ve gotten used to it. I try not to think about it.”

Since I had no knowledge of any potential turbulence this morning until it was Sedined my way, I beg to differ!

“Okay, maybe a little.”

Daniel doesn’t worry as much as Henrik, he just likes to know what he’s in for. Henrik, on the other hand, can recall bad flights as if they were the names of his children.

“There have been a few. Landing in Chicago a few years back during the playoffs, that was bad, maybe the worst I’ve ever been through, it was extremely windy and it seemed like we were flying through the high-rises in downtown Chicago, just in and out and up and down. That one Detroit flight with the snow was bad, the flight home from LA a few years ago was bad too, there’s been a few.”

For the record, Henrik said he isn’t afraid of flying. He’s afraid of crashing.

That kind of goes without saying, but hey, what do I know. I’m a nervous nelly.

*****

I was once an hour into a 10-hour flight to Vancouver from Copenhagen, Denmark, when the pilot turned on the seat belt sign and said to prepare for “extreme turbulence.” Sweat began gushing from body parts I didn’t even know could sweat and for the next while I sat in silence, bracing for impact.

Nothing. Not even a pebble of a bump here or a sliver of up and down.

So is it better to be prepared and have your mind racing? Or simply be surprised?

Hello from Arizona, where I’ll be pondering this the rest of the night.

Derek Jory – @NoJoryous

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