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On a Wing And a Prayer
Rick Reilly
January 30, 2006
Now this message for America's most famous athletes: Someday you may be invited to fly in the backseat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have--John Elway, John Stockton and Tiger Woods, to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity....
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January 30, 2006

On A Wing And A Prayer

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And I egressed the bananas. I egressed the pizza from the night before. And the lunch before that. I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade. I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that did not even want to be egressed. I went through not one airsick bag, but two. Biff said I passed out. Twice.

I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down. I used to know cool. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know cool. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and Freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.

What is it? I asked.

"Two Bags."

Don't you dare tell Nicole.

Rick Reilly is on vacation this week. This column appeared first in the September 20, 1999, issue.

? if you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to reilly@siletters.com.

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