It wasn't playing on Friday the 13th that had an adverse effect on the Melbourne Bearkatz in the state championship game against Conway St. Joseph, but nonetheless, the Katz were still under a bit the 8-ball in the game.
A bout of the flu swept through the community and school district the week of the state title game in Hot Springs and hit Melbourne Coach Mike Watson's squad pretty hard.
Not only that, but it also had an effect on the school's population, with quite a few students absent from class at the first of the week, too.
And as anyone who has ever been stricken with a flu bug before knows, everyday chores can be a real challenge, like trying to just just get out of bed to take some medicine.
Imagine then, the task of trying to tangle with a group of high-flying Bulldogs from Conway St. Joseph, including having to bang bodies with 6-7 John Kordsmeier for a couple of hours.
That's when you need to be at your strongest, not weakest.
"The flu bothered us a little bit on our depth -- some of our guys were not as strong as they could have been," said Watson after the game. "We only had eight or nine players until Wednesday. We had to go get IVs Wednesday before practice. These guys spent most of the day in the doctors office getting B-12 shots and getting IVs just to have some strength. I've got some guys in the locker room (after the state title game) that are so sick they can't pick their heads up."
Lee Lewis, Chase Massey and Derek Baird were all hit hard with the bug and were forced to gut it out in the game, but still, the players managed to give it their all.
Normally going six or seven deep, the Bearkatz were forced to go mostly with their starting five, even though Lewis and Spencer Caraway were in a bit of foul trouble in the second half of action.
While it's not uncommon for the flu to be out in full force this time of the year, it was just bad timing for a group of Bearkatz that were primed to make their first-ever appearance in the Class 2A State Championship game.
"I think it took an effect on us," said Watson. "It's just something that on a week like this, you don't need to be dealing with. You want to be focused on basketball, so that drained us a little bit. But, everyone's got their cross to bear and that was just ours. I was fortunate that everyone showed up and that we played as well as we did."