Yes. It's happened. I am starting to feel a little sick. Better now than in September or June I guess. But, since this is a Monday and there is a column due, I figured that I would work through this the way we expect most of our athletes to do it.
I'm no Dave "Killer" Carlson from Slap Shot. At least not Killer from the start of the movie. Remember at the beginning? Jim Carr has Dave up in the radio booth with him and during a lull in the action there is the following exchange:
Jim: With us in the press box is injured Chiefs defenseman, Dave Carlson. Dave, is it tough sitting here watching your team lose like this?
Dave: Definitely, Jim.
Jim: You injured your knee in a game.
Jim: No? I thought you had.
Dave: No, I have a cold. You know, the runny nose and the sore throat. I went out in that storm there last week to start my car. I didn't have my jacket on. I think it's settled in my kidneys.
Jim: We got action in the Presidents' goal.
Great movie. Especially when you're sick.
Plus, if Amanda Whurlitzer can fight through a cold to pitch for the Bears, I can write a quick column.
What are some of the greatest performances by athletes while fighting a head cold or the flu?
Well, there's Michael Jordan in Game Five of the 1997 NBA Finals against Utah. The Game is appropriately called, "The Flu Game".
On Tuesday, Jordan woke up nauseated and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning. The Bulls trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day. The Jazz had just won two in a row to tie the series, and Chicago needed their leader in this crucial swing game. In the NBA Finals best of seven games format, that Game 5 was critical, since the winner would be just one game away from the NBA Title. Against all odds, Jordan rose from bed at 3:00 p.m., just in time for the 6:00 tip-off at the Delta Center.
Jordan was visibly weak and pale as he stepped onto the court for Game Five. At first, he displayed no energy whatsoever, and John Stockton, along with reigning MVP Karl Malone, quickly led the Jazz to a 16-point lead. But in the second quarter, Jordan started to sink shots despite lacking his usual explosive speed and hardly being able to concentrate.
[Jordan scored] 15 points in the fourth quarter. With less than a minute to go he was at the free throw line; he made the first but missed the second. Toni Kukoc tapped the offensive rebound to Jordan, who would swish a three-point shot to put the Bulls up by three points with less than a minute left. Chicago then withstood a late Utah push and held on for a narrow victory when John Stockton missed the first of two free throws in front of the stunned crowd with an exhausted sweat-soaked Jordan briefly throwing two fists into the air as the buzzer sounded. Jordan talking to the media after the game quoted "we wanted it real bad."
Jordan finished the game with 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block.
I don't think I'm that bad and I don't think this is that good.
Most of the baseball stories I've heard or read about for guys fighting through illnesses and having tremendous performances have more to do with the self-inflicted types of illnesses -- like Babe Ruth eating too many hotdogs or the strange trip of Dock Ellis before his no-hitter. And I am guessing that Bobby Rayburn had a little cold after playing that game in a torrential downpour. But, that didn't hit until a few days later.
Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to have some orange juice and go to bed.
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