Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 and Why I Love My Job

This post isn't going to be about the stupid little fools who have hurt, and still want to hurt, Americans. I hope their 72 virgins are all fat and hairy. It's also not going to be about our government's extremely expensive, sometimes effective, sometimes infuriatingly assinine responses to terror threats either. It's going to be about how I spent my 9/11/11, and why I still love my job.

For me, 9/11/11, was just another day at work. But in my job, there really is no such thing as "just another day." The dad of one of my young adult students is inovlved in the ownership group of the Tulsa Shock, a WNBA team and the only pro sports team in town there. For a cross-country flight, the student wanted to fly to Tulsa for the last game of the season.

The flight was textbook. It was a really rough day, which makes for great teaching if not a bit of misery (especially for Mrs. Dabney, who was in the back seat). When we arrived at the arena, we were led to our courtside seats. What a cool experience! The Big XII is well-represented in the WNBA and it was cool to see some names we recognized playing professionally (including Baylor's own Sophia Young---Sic 'Em!). If you think of WNBA players as inferior or weak, you may have a different point of view when you almost get taken our of your seat by 6 foot plus, 200 pounds plus, on its way out-of-bounds!

After the game, we were in the locker room for the ownership group's final meeting of the year with the players. They talked about the highs and lows of the season, and their hopes for next year for the franchise. Many of these players will leave in just a couple weeks to play in international leagues. The WNBA doesn't pay very well, so they work pretty much year-round.

While in the locker room, Alisa got to meet Ali Olajuwon, daughter of NBA great Hakeen Olajuwon. Hakeen was with the Houston Rockets when Alisa was a teenager, and so it was a real treat for her to get to meet Abi in such an intimate setting.

The whole while, my student and I were discussing the benefits of General Aviation with his dad. We'd made the flight up from Waco in less than three hours, while his dad had taken over four hours to drive from Dallas. Down the road, they'll end up having an airplane to make his travels more logistically simple. Another family gets it.

After the game, we must have talked to the line guys at the FBO (Riverside Jet Center at KRVS is an awesome bunch---pay them a visit) about Cubs, Stearmans, and EAA for a good hour. They'd stayed open 45 minutes past closing time just to let us out and say goodnight. More good people in aviation, more good people who get it.

What does all this have to do with 9/11? In my corner of aviation, we're winning. We're doing our thing, and we're going to keep doing our thing. I had another one of the ordinary, yet extraordinary days that has so popluated my career up to this point. I refuse to live in fear, and I refuse to let others fear what they don't know.

Take somebody flying. Show them how ordinary, yet extraordinary, aviation is. If we tell our story the right way, neither Muslim extremists nor idiot bureaucrats will be able to stop us.

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