When Passion Overcomes Fear, It’s Hard to Keep a Good Man Down

Posted: July 28, 2010 by Adrian Sanders in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jack Roush at the controls of one of his aircraft - Credit Bob Margolis/Yahoo Sports

On Tuesday, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Jack Roush was seriously injured in a plane crash while attempting to land his aircraft on a runway in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Witnesses to the crash said it appeared that the engines had stalled shortly before reaching the ground and sending the airplane into a cartwheel, then breaking a wing and the tail-section off.  As of last report, Roush was in serious but stable condition at a local hospital.

If you think this scenario sounds all too familiar, well you are correct.  In 2002, Roush was celebrating his 60th birthday and flying solo to the Talladega Motor Speedway where the week’s NASCAR race was to be held.  He accidentally clipped some power lines in his twin-engine aircraft, sending him upside down into 8 feet of water in a lake in Troy, AL.  An ex-marine who was actually trained in underwater rescue rushed to the scene after seeing the crash happen.  The man called for help and pulled an unconscious Roush from the plane where he was still strapped into the seat.  In the months following, Roush battled hard to overcome head injuries, lung injuries and multiple bone fractures.

Just one week after that plane crash, Roush talked to reporters in a press conference from the hospital in Birmingham, AL.  To everyone’s surprise, Roush announced to the media that he will soon be flying again.  “I’ll still fly”, said Roush.  “As soon as they will let me and decide my leg is okay”.  How can anyone who quite literally just experienced a near death situation climb back into the cockpit and fly again?  One word…passion.  Wikipedia defines the word passion as an emotion applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing.  I think its obvious that Jack Roush is very passionate about flying.  He began flying with a co-pilot in 1983 and got his pilot license in 1993.  He has logged thousands of hours in the sky in the cockpit of many aircraft including his favorite, a fully restored P-51 Mustang from World War II.

Jack Roush's P-51 Mustang "Old Crow" - Credit Dave Mathis / Port Orange, FL

But it’s the business end that makes flying the most profitable for him.  Roush spends a lot of his time in the Detroit, Michigan area where he plays an integral part in the development team at Ford Motor Company and heads up his own company, Roush Industries.  He also co-owns Roush Fenway Racing, a multi-car NASCAR team in Concord, NC and Roush Yates Racing Engines in Mooresville, NC.  As you might imagine, its quite a balancing act for Roush to manage his businesses when they are thousands of miles away from each other.  Not to mention, he also travels all over the country each weekend during race season to attend the NASCAR events his team competes in.  With that said, flying is a necessity for Roush, but he also enjoys doing it in his free time as a hobby.

I can’t say for sure how I would react if I were ever faced with a situation such as what Jack Roush has endured.  Many people look at this and say “there is no way I would ever step foot on an airplane again”.  I think in general it’s human nature to think in that manner.  But I think what people don’t realize is the passion that people pour into their hobbies.  Do I think Jack Roush should quit flying just because he has endured two accidents?  No!  He knows the risks and accepted that long ago.  Personally, I think it takes an even stronger person to do what Roush has done.  Sometimes you have to lick your wounds and keep going in this life.  It’s the same concept as race car drivers.  They know that every time they step foot into that race car, there is a chance of being injured and maybe even losing their life.  But they wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Take Dale Earnhardt for instance.  He died doing what he loved and I’d be willing to bet that there was nothing that could have kept him from climbing in that racecar that day.

One day when I die, I hope I‘m doing something I love.  I’d rather live my life and enjoy every minute I have here than to sit around and not live my life at all.  Fear should not keep you from doing the things you want with your life, it should motivate you to do more.  Take a lesson from people such as Jack Roush.  Look fear right in the eye never let this life get you down.  If you want to be successful, you are going to endure some rough spots in the road of life.  Jack, you are in our thoughts and prayers and we wish you a speedy recovery!

  1. Adam Day says:

    After I was struck by lightening I didn’t let that stop me from watching storms. I just carried on. But ya, for real…good read. Reminds me of a guy I saw on ESPN the other day. He is a base jumper and has been doing so for years. After different accidents and even after losing a friend from doing the same thing, he says he will continue to jump. He loves it.


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