By Kim DeRaedt
Most people have phobias, or at least a fear or two. We are afraid of spiders, dying, deep water, or dark alleys. Some of soccer’s biggest and brightest stars, however, have some of the deepest and darkest phobias that severely inhibit their career or severely dampen their macho image at the very least.
SV Hamburg striker Paolo Guerrero must’ve felt like he was half a world away from his teammates when he was forced to miss games due to injury and indeed he was. The Peruvian international phenom returned home to recuperate from knee surgery, but it was extreme aviatophobia that prevented him from returning to play. Guerrero attempted four times in January alone to board a flight back to Germany. Each time he experienced severe bowel movements, otherwise known as gastritis. Neither family nor tranquilizers were able to help Guerrero fasten his seat belt and prepare for takeoff. Instead, he finds himself in therapy as SV Hamburg’s record continues to fall. Some correlation predicted.
Misery Loves Company
Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp knows every bit of Guerrero’s pain. During his stint at Arsenal, Bergkamp earned himself the notorious nickname, the “Non-Flying Dutchman”. His phobia stemmed from an incident with the Dutch national team when a journalist’s ill-regarded joke that he was carrying a bomb caused the flight to be cancelled. Bergkamp pledged that he would never fly again because the overwhelming anxiety would considerably weaken his performance. He travelled to all European games accessible by car and train, but some of those journeys became so prolonged and taxing that he eventually stopped going altogether. Luckily for Bergkamp, England is a small enough country whereby he could easily manage his ground-level trips, thus he experienced great success with Arsenal within the team’s homeland borders.
The concept is the same; it flies in the sky and David Beckham doesn’t like it! Ornithophobia, the fear of birds, won’t inhibit Beckham’s game in the foreseeable future. Coupled with ataxophobia, the fear of a disorder, however, it makes Beckham one strange superstar. His hatred of everything not neat or orderly is a phobia more commonly termed “OCD”. Does this explain his pinpoint free kicks, which result from endless hours of obsessive practice?
Geez, they’re your opponents. Nobody ever said you had to marry them; you just have to play them. Even so, this concept proved too overwhelming for Bebel, a French amateur team composed of mainly Muslims, when they were scheduled to play Paris Foot Gay (PFG). Bebel refused, claiming that it was “against their principles.” PFG’s ensuing complaint is still being reviewed by French soccer authorities.
Forget a stadium full of 40,000 fans with a country’s soccer hopes on the line, Beckham is afraid of some less than formidable “wingers” and other international sensations are scared to leave their nests. Bravery is not a prerequisite for this profession!
The facts behind the phobias: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5216622,00.html
Bizarre Beckham keeps company: www.mostinterestingfacts.com/…/10-most-interesting-facts-of-celebrity- phobias.html