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We’re off to a troubled start. Or no start at all, really. Three out of four Hawks have been grounded. PL and his wife Victoria made it. They are at our hotel in the Irish hillside north of Dublin. They say it’s great. Beautiful countryside, good food, a helpful and well-organized host. But we remaining Hawks are still here at LAX. We’ve been here almost 24 hours.

LAX is a terrible place. Everyone knows that and it seems tiresome to repeat it but I just can’t help it. It’s simply terrible. As we pulled up yesterday afternoon and saw the lines of ragged and exhausted passengers, I felt that we were approaching a refugee camp. But I was an outsider, a newsman of sorts there to capture pictures and gather quotes from the troubled suffering many. But I was not of them. I was not one of the stranded and lost. My trip would be go just fine. Right?At first all was looking good. I got an upgrade to business class! A well-dressed television personality was seated next to me. She covered motor-cross, super-cross, and the x-games for ESPN. I am with my people! Up here in business class we’re all successful, world -traveling entertainment types. We work hard and we deserve to be treated right. We chat about the pain of traveling coach while sipping on complimentary champagne and orange juice. “Do you always fly Business Class?” “Oh yes, I try to.”

Extreme TV-host revealed that she was newly pregnant as she nervously snacked on Craisens and bananas, waiting for the flight to depart. It seemed any moment we would be airborne, she would be diligently eating and sleeping, protecting the new life growing within her and I would be stretched out in my big roomy seat, drifting in and out of light narcotic slumbers. Ah, it was never to be. Trouble in the toilets. No water. Flushing issues. Back to the gate. Wait an hour. They throw off two young troublemakers. What did they do? I don’t know, but they look like trouble to me. Glad they’re gone. We need to wait while they pull their bags. More time ticks past. They say the water is fixed! They got the troublemakers bags! We’re back on our way. Back out on the runway. We’ll be up in the air in seconds. Business class food will arrive so soon. I can smell the grilled Mahi Mahi rewarming in the ovens. What wine should I choose? But what’s that stewardess doing flushing the toilet over and over with the Lavatory door open? Who’s she gesturing to? No! It’s not fixed. The toilets are still jammed. Flight canceled.

Now the trouble really starts. I won’t bore you, dear reader, with the details. You’ve all been there before. No flights to get you where you need to be in time. Bags locked on a plane to nowhere. Meal voucher. 1 AM dinner at the last remaining sport’s bar. Airport Hotel purgatory sleep in the stiff cold sheets. And now we are back again at the gates. Waiting some more. This latest flight delayed two more hours. Pray for us dear friends. May our troubled luck change.