Do you believe in miracles? Yes….
Thirty years ago today, Al Michaels spoke those words at the end of the single greatest sporting moment in United States history. The USA men’s hockey team had upset the Russians. I was barely a month old. My dad reminds me that as he watched the US win, I got tossed up in the air and probably had some beer spilled on me. My sisters would add that I was probably dropped at that point too. Whatever the case, I became enamored with the game and the story by watching the movie “Miracle.” I have probably watched it over 20 times and will do so again tonight.
I can remember where I was the night I heard legendary coach Herb Brooks had been killed in a car accident…on an eliptical machine in a Marriott in Seattle. Brooks methods and determination were amazing. He took a team of college kids on to beat the greatest team in the world. And to think that he was at least the third choice of USA hockey before getting the job. The players hated him throughout the preparation for the Olympics, but they all seem to have a glint in their eye when they speak about him today.
NBC did a piece on the team with Al Michaels, now 65 years old, Mark Johnson (the team’s offensive star and current USA women’s coach), Jim Craig (the goaltender) and Mike Eruzione (the captain). They visited the arena of the game in Lake Placid. Let me highlight that Lake Placid was a town of 2,700 people at the time. Can you imagine a town of 2,700 hosting the Olymipcs today? Are you kidding me?
The game was not shown live on American television. It ran an hour after the game ended. But there was no internet. There were no mobile phones. Long distance call cost…A LOT. The tape delay did not upset anyone because many thought they were watching it live, or didn’t care because they would not find out that day who won if they didn’t watch it.
Carter was still president. The cold war was peaking. And Russia was the enemy.
Eruzione stated that he thinks “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants may have begun in the Olympic Arena that night. If they did, thank God. If they didn’t, it’s still a good story. The country united behind that victory. It proved the US of A could topple the Russians. And we did.
I could continue to ramble on and on. I am fascinated by all of the storylines. If you have not watched the movie, do so. Because even though I “watched” the game the first time, I didn’t really “watch” it until I saw the movie. And now I believe in miracles.
Goodnight and God bless,