Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Today is the 31st anniversary if the USA Hockey team's defeat of the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. I have developed a bit of a tradition every February 22nd. I watch "Miracle" and the HBO sports documentary on that team and the gold medal run. It might seem odd that something that happened before I was born has such huge meaning for me. I look at it this way. It was a moment in time where the sport of ice hockey, always the perennial after thought in American sports culture, meant so much to the entire nation. So much so that it has been voted the biggest sports moment of the 20th century.

It's definitely a moment that will never be duplicated in the Olympics, especially as long as professional athletes participate in the ice hockey tournament. I got a bit of a glimpse of what it might have been like during Team USA's 2010 run at the Vancouver games. Canada was the big red monster then. Stocked with household name talent. Team USA might have had NHL'ers, but none of the name recognition of Sidney Crosby or Brodeur or Toews. I had people coming out of the woodwork to talk hockey with me. Gold medal game didn't go the same way as 1980, but it was inspirational and hopeful to me as an American hockey fan nonetheless.

But today, the recognition has to go to those 20 guys and the coach who made it possible 31 years ago today. Without them, USA's national hockey program would look very different. That game will forever serve as a reminder that the impossible can happen. And we should always believe in miracles.

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