Monday, October 25, 2004

I am in awe of Curt Schilling.

I don't use the words "heroic" or "courageous" to describe professional athletes getting paid millions of dollars, and I wouldn't use them here either. It is, however, astonishing.

The only comparable performance I can think of is when Michael Jordan had the flu, was puking, and had a temperature of about 102 and somehow put up about 40 points against Utah in the NBA finals. And I'd say that Schilling is even more impressive, because there was more pressure on him. Jordan could always get healthy for the next game. But throughout the playoffs the hopes of Red Sox Nation depend very heavily on Schilling.

The standard example seems to be Willis Reed. I don't think so. Willis Reed's appearance was electric, from what I've read, but he only scored about two baskets. Schilling and Jordan not only played in the game, they dominated it.

[As a sidenote, I read an entertaining quote from Bill Russell about that game, revealing about both him and Wilt Chamberlain. Reed went up against Chamberlain in that game. When Reed appeared, Chamberlain was shocked and spooked even though Reed could barely walk. This really gets Russell agitated. He says that if Reed had tried that on him, he'd have demanded the ball the next ten times down the court and scored on Reed every time. If some gimpy guy walked out of the locker room and lined up against him, Russell was insulted, not intimidated. Chamberlain never beat Russell.]

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