Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Flu Theory

Besides providing viewers with drama, intensity and amazing highlights, Tiger Woods also reminded me of a darling little theory I have considered over the years this past weekend.  It's a theory that you the reader can take to the bank.  The money bank.  Over the years I have noticed that when an athlete has the flu, watch out.  It is as if the word "flu" is slang for "going to win."  Inevitably, in whatever sport and no matter how serious the malady, the player with the flu comes out on top.  Here are some classic examples of what I am talking about.

Dirk Nowitzki - 2011 NBA Finals: In a rare confluence of the Flu Theory meets the Curse of the Fab Five, Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to erase a nine point Mavs deficit and tie up the series against the Heat.  Of course the Heat went on to lose the series.

Pete Sampras - 1996 U.S. Open: That's right, TPLIYP went tennis on you!  I have never seen this match before, but apparently in 1996 against Alex Corretja, Pete Sampras caught the flu and was puking on the court.  Despite a spirited effort from Corretja, Sampras still hung on for the win.

Tiger Woods - 2012 Memorial: As if Tiger didn't have enough to come back from, he also had the flu this past weekend at Memorial.  Obviously, he was able to rise above it and shoot a final round 67 to take the title.

Joe Montana - 1979 Cotton Bowl: Another game I have never seen.  The legend goes that with the Irish down 20-12 at halftime, Montana's body temperature dropped down to 96 degrees due to flu-like symptoms.  In the third quarter Montana was eating bowls of chicken soup and being covered with heat packs while the Irish fell behind even further, 34-12.  With under eight minutes to go in the game, Joe Cool returned and led the Golden Domers to a 35-34 victory in his last game for the Fighting Irish.

Michael Jordan - 1997 NBA Finals:  This game is known as "The Flu Game" and is the basis of my entire argument.  I remember watching this game as a kid and wanting the Jazz to win.  When I found out Michael Jordan had the flu, I thought Stockton, Malone & Co. had a great chance to take the series lead 3-2 at home in Utah.  Not so fast, my friend.  Apparently, the story goes that MJ could hardly even sit up or walk the day before the game and said there was no way he could play.  On game day, Scottie Pippen wasn't sure if His Airness could even put his uniform on.  The rest is history.  Jordan, collapsing after whistles and leaning on teammates to help him to the bench, scored 38 points and made a huge three pointer with 25 seconds left to give Chicago the lead.  He also had seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block.  Kind of makes Lebron look like a little bitch.

I'm sure there are more examples that I am forgetting, but you see my point.  Next time you hear that a player has the flu, don't count them out.  Rather, bet the farm on them winning the game.  Unless of course Juwan Howard is on their team.


  1. I wonder if it's because team docs pump the athletes with such a high level of drugs like sudafed that allows them to play at such a high level. Curious to know what these guys felt like the next day, or how they played in the next game, esp in the case of basketball/baseball/hockey/golf/tennis where there's very little rest between outings.

  2. Or if its code for gamblers and fixers that "this team is going to win." That's always been my thought.