20 Strange Athlete Fears
Here are some confessions: I hate needles, despise clowns and once believed the guy from Scream was hiding behind the shower curtains in my guest bathroom.
Whew...feels good to let that out, considering we all have our weird fears and hangups we try to hide. Maybe you don't mind needles or clowns, but you hate public bathrooms and won't go in the ocean because you're scared of a stingray poking you in the pendulums.
Whatever your thing is, it's cool. We've all got our things, including athletes.
The following are 20 "strange" and irrational fears athletes have admitted to, ranked from least to most...unique.
20. Michael Cuddyer: Fear of Bees/Wasps
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
If I had the experience Michael Cuddyer did with insects, I'd probably be afraid of stinging insects, too.
According to an interview he gave to AthlonSports.com, when Cuddyer was 16, he tried to open up his family's mailbox and was attacked by a swarm of wasps which had secretly built a nest beneath the box.
The Rockies outfielder was in a car when the wasps attacked him, and says he ended up getting stung in the face and head 10 or more times. Good Lord, that's awful.
19. Serena Williams: Afraid of the Dark
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
As a Friday the 13th promotion, Disneyland Resort in California conducted a survey in 2006 asking celebrities about their biggest fears.
Serena Williams' response? The dark. She's still scared of it.
Now, at some point in our lives, we've all shut off the lights and ran upstairs. There was a reason Are You Afraid of the Dark? was so damn scary, and that's because the dark was spooky when we were kids.
18. Josh Freeman: Fear of Elevators
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
You know what's the worst feeling ever? Having an irrational fear that something will happen to you, and then it finally happens to you.
This exact circumstance befell Josh Freeman, who developed a fear of getting stuck in an elevator after his sister was first stuck in one. His fears became real one day when he went to visit the dentist and found himself stranded between floors.
"It was only like five minutes, but it felt like forever," Freeman said. "Yeah, the elevator is horrible."
17. Glenallen Hill: Super Afraid of Spiders
Image via SportsIllustrated.com
Some people are scared of spiders, and get the creepy crawlies whenever they see them.
Other people are so scared of spiders, that they spend their nights running around in a terrified state of semiconscousness, thinking eight-legged monsters are attacking them.
Glenallen Hill falls into this latter category. The former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder managed to end up on the DL in 1990 after a nightmare about spiders caused him to leap out of bed and crash through a glass table, cutting up his hands, knees and feet.
No one likes spiders, but this on a whole other level.
16. Cam Newton: Fear of Baseballs
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
He doesn't mind huge men attacking him every moment he's on the field, but Cam Newton couldn't deal with baseballs flying fast in his direction.
Newton was conducting an interview with ESPN when he explained that he quit baseball because he was afraid of pitches.
"I quit baseball at 14 because I was afraid of the pitches," Newton said. "The kids started getting better and throwing faster, and it would've hurt getting hit by a pitch."
Cam's right—taking a 95 mph fastball to the hip would be awful. That being said, getting blindsided by a 300-pound defensive end doesn't feel like yoga.
15. Kobe Bryant: Hates Dog Turds
David Dow/Getty Images
You're down two with seconds to go—put the ball in Kobe's hands. He's more than willing to shoulder that burden.
What he isn't willing to do, however, is pick up that hot pile of German Shepard crap waiting for him in the lawn. The anxiety of picking up his dog's feces keeps Kobe up at night, according to an interview he gave to Complex magazine in 2009.
Bryant told the magazine that it all began early in his NBA career, when he went to a park and stepped into a "huge pile of dog (bleep)" wearing brand new Jordans. Ever since then, he refuses to even pick up his dogs' dung.
14. Royce White: Fear of Flying
Nick Laham/Getty Images
That's what Royce White has to say to any team in the NBA who wants him to fly 100-plus flights a season. The former Houston Rocket clashed with team management over his anxiety disorder/fear of flying, which left him riding a bus to D-League games during the course of the 2012-13 season.
The Rockets have traded the former Iowa State standout to the Philadelphia 76ers, and he has refused to travel with the team to their preseason opener in Spain.
13. John Madden: Fear of Flying/Small Spaces
Image via thebsreport.files.wordpress.com
This one gets a higher billing because of the amount of money John Madden spends to avoid flying.
That being said, Madden has not traveled on a plane since 1979.
Nope, he just rolls around the country in the "Madden Cruiser"—an $800,000 touring bus loaded with creature comforts. Why does Madden do this? Besides that it's awesome? He hates flying, and gets claustrophobic in small spaces.
It may seem excessive, but when compared to the Floyd Mayweather method of travel planning, the Madden Cruiser is like taking the train to work.
12. David Beckham: Fear of Disorder
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY
Everything must be just so, or David Beckham will not be comfortable at all.
The English soccer star is afflicted with a form of OCD, which requires him to have everything perfect so in his home and on the road. It's not a strange fear as much as it an extreme need for orderliness, and Beckham admits he has to rearranges soda cans in his fridge and hide brochures in his hotel rooms before he can relax.
11. Adrian Beltre: Hates Having His Head Touched
Adrian Beltre does not like having anyone feel and/or touch his head.
It's like Whack-A-Mole, except this mole comes at you with hands and gloves flying. He's not going to hurt you, but he's weird enough about his head to throw equipment if you piss him off enough.
Unfortunately for Beltre, his hilarious tantrums only provoke more teammates to join in the tormenting.
10. Sonny Liston: Fear of Syringes
Image via static.boxrec.com
I'm with Sonny Liston on this one—I hate needles.
The former heavyweight boxing champ died in his hotel room in Las Vegas of a supposed heroin overdose, but the circumstances remain fishy. Needle marks were found on Liston's arms, which alarmed his friends, whom knew the boxer had an extreme fear of needles.
Nevertheless, I can wholly sympathize with Liston on his hatred for syringes. When I was a kid, I used to hide until tables in the doctor's office if I knew an immunization was coming my way.
9. Aleisha Cline: Fear of Heights
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
What gets professional skier Aleisha Cline to the bottom of the mountain so fast? Her fear of heights, of course.
In an ironic, but somehow sensible way, Cline says her fear of high places helps her race.
"Once the race starts, I can't wait to get off the hill," Cline told ESPN the Magazine.
8. Rebecca Adlington: Fear of the Sea
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY
A two-time gold-medal wining swimmer, Rebecca Adlington isn't afraid of competition—just any and all forms of potentially dangerous sea creatures.
Adlington has admitted that she has never been in the ocean, and that the only way she would ever swim in it would be if she were invisible.
7. Tim Duncan: Fear of Sharks
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Growing up on the Virgin Islands, Tim Duncan began his athletic career as a competitive swimmer.
That was derailed, however, when Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic pool on the island. A strong fear of sharks kept Duncan from training in the ocean, and he instead chose to pick up basketball as his sport of choice.
In other words, sharks gave us the Tim Duncan we have today. If it weren't for them, future power forwards wouldn't have a role model or an awesome week of annual television programming.
6. DeMarcus Ware: Fear of Jason from 'Friday the 13th'
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA
Everyone was scared of Jason, but DeMarcus Ware used to think the fictional killer from Friday the 13th was in his house.
"He wore that white mask," Ware said in an interview. "I used to think he was under my bed all the time."
Considering I had that whole Scream guy living in the guest bathroom thing growing up, I feel you on this one, DeMarcus.
5. Michael Phelps: Fear of Water
"Eventually I just put it in and off I went."
These are Michael Phelps words concerning his face, which he used to be terrified of putting under the water when he first began swimming. According to Phelps, it took him years to get past his fear of submerging his head while swimming.
As you may have noticed, he overcame this hangup.
4. Raphael Nadal: Fear of Everything
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
There's not much that doesn't scare Rafa.
The tennis pro has OCD, which manifests itself in multiple ways. Some of his hangups are the irrational fear of dogs, storms, motor bikes, spiders and sleeping in the dark, among other things.
Dogs, spiders and motor bikes I can understand. Dogs can bite, and no one likes little crawly eight-legged creatures. And if Nadal's afraid of actually riding on a motor bike, well, that can actually be pretty dangerous.
Storms and sleeping in the dark, though. That's...different.
3. Eric Berry: Fear of Horses
Heck no, Eric Berry doesn't mess with horses. They might come over and cause a ruckus.
The Kansas City Chiefs safety has equinophobia, which is a fear of horses and other equine animals. The good news is, he's trying to overcome it. NFL Films recently tried to help Berry work through his fear, exposing him to horse pictures and horse hand puppets.
The safety eventually mustered up the courage to pet Warpaint—the Chiefs' equine mascot, who has scared Berry his entire career in Kansas City. We're making progress, people. We are cooking with gas. Or horses.
2. Damian Lillard: Fear of Statues
Sam Forencich/Getty Images
You will never catch Damian Lillard dead at the Lincoln Memorial, because "historic statues" scare the bejesus out of him.
According to Lillard, his fear is rooted in a "bad experience at a wax museum."
His condition is called automatonophobia, and leaves me with a question: Which wax statue hurt you, Damian? Was it Patton? Michael Jackson?
We can only guess.
1. Andy Roddick: Fear of Rabbits
USA TODAY Sports
This is just insane.
Andy Roddick is scared of bunny rabbits, and more specifically—the Easter Bunny. According to one Deadspin reader, Roddick was attending an Easter Sunday brunch in 2002 when he came face-to-face with a person in an Easter Bunny costume.
Visibly terrified, Roddick repeatedly asked the hotel staff to make sure the mascot got no where near him. He spent his entire brunch acting uncomfortable. Just another normal day in the life, right?
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