I'm dead tired, but I think I'm going to be able to get this blog out and make it look good.
This past week I would say that the biggest story in sports is Tiger Woods. After playing with a hurt knee and winning the U.S. Open in a playoff, we found out that Tiger would be having season-ending surgery. This lit the fuse for endless stories, reports, analyses of who's the big guy now, blogs, and throwdowns. So here's my thoughts on the whole Tiger situation and athletes playing in pain in general.
Let's start off with Tiger. Tiger Woods is the biggest name in golfing today and probably the greatest golfer in the history of the sport. He's is the ultimate competitor in golfing. We saw with him playing through pain that he will do whatever it takes to win. Why is that a problem?
The only person that knew how far Woods could push it is Woods himself. He knew his limits. He knew how far he could go. And he managed. All the doctors can do is look at the situation on paper and tell him how it all looks on paper. But we all know in sports that "on paper" almost never translates to the final result (easy one: Super Bowl XLII). They can tell him what they think, but only Tiger knows what Tiger can do.
It's his decision. If he thinks he can go out there and perform, he'll do it (and he should). And seeing that with all of the pain he still came out with the trophy, don't you think that he made the right decision? If not, look at it on a larger scale:
Let's take to all of sports. In basketball, a little more than eleven years ago, the greatest baller ever, Michael Jordan, took the court in the 1997 NBA Finals. It was his Chicago Bulls facing the Utah Jazz, with the series tied at 2-2. The day before and day of the game, Jordan was feeling terrible, sufferring from a stomach virus. Doctors told him (just like Woods) that he wouldn't be playing Game 5 (or shouldn't). But the day of Game 5, Jordan gathered his sick, dehydrated body onto the court. He didn't play well in the first period, but when the second came around, with Chicago down by 16, it was MJ being MJ, hitting shots and making plays. He ended up scoring 17 points in the second quarter. Jordan ended up hitting a three that would keep the Bulls ahead for the remaining 40-some seconds of the game in the fourth quarter, and walked off the court clinging to Scottie Pippen's side. He scored 38 points and played 44 minutes.
There's more, too. I got this from a Top 10 List for Brett Favre:"Oct. 3, 2004 - Fighting through an injury
Knocked out of a game against the New York Giants with a concussion, Favre stayed on the bench for just one play - rushing onto the field as the Packers went for it on fourth-and-5. He threw a 28-yard TD pass to Walker for Green Bay's only score before doctors ruled him out for the rest of the game. It epitomized the grit that helped Favre set an NFL record with 253 consecutive regular-season starts at quarterback."
The Packers ended up losing that game, 14-7, but that's beside the point. Brett Favre (like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods) was told by doctors bad news, but they proved all wrong. After telling the world Favre would be out for the rest of the game, he came back after one play and threw for a touchdown. Like MJ and Tiger, this proves why they are all the ultimate competitors in their sport. I could list so many different examples of Favre being injured but playing (and winning; they have a list in a book I have on him), but I think you guys should have the picture in your head now.
It may seem stupid, risking it all for one win, but when you're the best, you have to show up and make the plays. And when you do, it's normally worth it.