This new series is guest blogged by Doug Logan.
Doug Logan is an Adjunct Professor of Sports Management, at New York University.
He was the CEO for USATF from 2008 until September 2010.
He was also the CEO, President and Commissioner for Major League Soccer from 1995 to 1999. To read more about his background and involvement in Track, Soccer, Rugby and the Music industry, read my Freelap Friday Five Interview
This is his 43rd article. Click here for his entire series.
SHIN SPLINTS 2014
The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman is a 17th Century fable that continues to fascinate some 400 years after the story was crafted. It concerns a sailing ship that is doomed to sail the oceans forever without ever making port. Over the years there have been hundreds of “confirmed” sightings of the vessel, always at night and always describing the ship as glowing with ghostly light as it emerges from the fog, only to disappear once again.
The legend has embedded itself in various elements of modern culture. Tori Amos, Jethro Tull, Rufus Wainwright, The Band, and Jimmy Buffett have all penned lyrics about the ship. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest , The Flying Dutchman makes an appearance, captained by Davy Jones. Even The Simpsons have a marvelous character, known as the Sea Captain, who operates and owns The Frying Dutchman Restaurant.
We may have our modern day equivalent; Malaysian Air Flight 370.
Since its disappearance from radar screens on March 8th, the search for the missing plane has become a global obsession. The tantalizing details of its disappearance have become the fodder for amateur sleuths and conspiracy theorists. CNN’s ratings have spiked, again, as they parade dozens of experts before us who can offer no coherent explanation for the event. We now have the OJ Chase of this millennium, without the helicopter and without a trace of the SUV.
Think about it. Your college-aged son can get a parking ticket in the family van on some obscure alley in a mid-West campus, and the authorities will have a citation in your mailbox within 14 days. We are led to believe that Google knows every place we have been, every purchase we have made and every item we have coveted in the past year. My brother has a secret app on his twin son’s cellphones and can track their every move while sitting at dinner 500 miles away on a business trip. But, we have now lost an object, without a trace, that is 242 feet long, has a 212 foot wingspan, and weighed 262 tons at takeoff. The plane, with its crew of 12 and with 227 passengers from 15 countries, has just gone poof!
Has it flown to the Bermuda Triangle? Is it on a secret landing strip on Christmas Island? Has it flown to Area 51 in Nevada, with the crew and passengers ensconced in front of slot machines in Vegas? Has Putin figured out something else to steal besides the Crimean Peninsula?
It is hard to joke about this matter with the lives of 239 people in the balance. Regrettably, logic leads us to the inescapable conclusion that they have perished. There are 26 countries involved in the search over a massive expanse of ocean, and each day that goes by without finding tell-tale debris brings us closer to the day we’ll admit we don’t know, and won’t know. And, maybe this will bring a bit of humility to the all-knowing technologists who have an answer for everything.
In the meantime, the crazy Holmesian wannabees will continue to tweet their far-fetched premises. I’ll bet we’ll even get a regurgitation of The Philadelphia Experiment. This grand hoax, conceived in World War II, was created by one deluded man. He suggested that the US Navy had found a way to master Einstein’s Unified Field Theory. Simply put, the theory says that if you can bend electromagnetism and gravity into one field in space and time, you can rend objects invisible. He claimed that the Navy had done this successfully in October, 1943 with the warship USS Eldridge at the Philadelphia Naval Yards. So, maybe we’ll find that the necessary equipment to make the plane invisible was mounted on Flight 370.
Maybe out of all of this we will get tamper-proof transponders on commercial aircraft. Or radios in the passenger cabin, to be able to alert the world of misadventures by a rogue crew. Perhaps it will jar the Malaysian government into greater candor and transparency during a crisis.
From 1961-63 there was a goofy situation comedy that aired in back-and-white on NBC. It was called Car 54, Where Are You? Produced by Nat Hiken, this screwball comedy starred Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody, and Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon. The episodes depicted how superiors at their 53rd Precinct, in the Bronx, could never find the inept protagonists. The show even had its own theme song:
There’s a holdup in the Bronx,
Brooklyn’s broken up in fights,
There’s a traffic jam in Harlem,
That’s backed up to Jackson Heights,
There’s a scout troop short a child,
Khrushchev’s due at Idlewild
Car 54, Where Are You?
Flight 370, Where Are You?