Sunday, November 6, 2011

Youth Basketball: The Flu Game

On June 10, 1997, Michael Jordan woke up with a stomach virus. He was so sick that he couldn't even sit up. The Chicago Bulls trainer informed Phil Jackson, the head coach, that there is no way that Jordan would play the next night. Jackson started to prepare a game plan that did not include his star player for Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

The Bulls were playing the Jazz, who had won the previous two games to tie the series at 2 games apiece. The Jazz had all the momentum going into the crucial swing game. The Bulls did not want to go to Utah, where the Jazz were so tough to beat, needing to win the final two games of the series to secure a championship.

On June 11, the competitor, Jordan climbed out of bed late in the afternoon and made his way to the Delta Centre. He arrived just before the tip-off. Jordan stepped onto the court visibly weak and slow. The Jazz, with the superstar combination of John Stockton and Karl Malone took advantage and jumped out to a 16 point lead early in the first half. 

But the competitor found a way to endure 44 minutes of play and put up a stat line of 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block before he collapsed into Scottie Pippen's arms victorious.

On Tuesday, my daughter awoke sick with the flu after a night of trick-or-treating. She missed school Tueday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, she went to school but threw up and was sent home. She lost 5 pounds during the week. At 71 pounds, she did not have 5 pounds to lose.

On Saturday morning, the competitor climbed out of bed and got dressed for her Cincinnati City Championship second round game. She stepped on the court pale, visibly weak and a step slow. The opposing point guard took advantage to create opportunities for the two big girls on her team. CC’s team quickly found themselves down 12-0. With 20 seconds left in the first quarter, CC drove the lane and was fouled. She made both free throws to cut the deficit to 10 points.

In the second quarter, CC played the point and took several outside shots against the packed in zone defense. Without strong legs under her, all of her shots hit the front of the rim. With a quivering lip and struggling to breathe, she uncharacteristically asked to sit. 

I sat next to her on the bench. Knowing the team had very little chance of mounting a comeback without one of their leading scorers, I asked CC off and on if she was ready to give it another go. Each time, without wasting any energy to say a word, she turned her head 1/8 of an inch to the right and a 1/8 inch then left to indicate that she was not.
She tried to play again in the 3rd quarter, but could not muster up the strength to make a Jordanesque impact on the game.  The team lost and the season is over. 

The Main Point

After the game, I hugged my daughter and told her how proud I was of her. I told her that most kids, heck most people, look for excuses to quit in life you didn't. 


  1. Sometimes you've got it, sometimes you don't. At her age, there will always be another game. A lesson I learned from my injury prone high school and college athletic career.

  2. You got that right Clarence. Thanks

  3. That is quite inspiring even though with those sickness she have that time. She still manage to cooperate with the game. Better luck for the next time. I hope she's fine now. :D

  4. Your opponent may spot an opportunity to grab the ball from you without effort. Basketball Hoop Lab

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