Eric Soskin of the Harvard Federalist Society blog Ex Parte reminds us that today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Miracle on Ice: “25 years later.” The Miracle on Ice specially resonated with us in Minnesota, where we had watched almost half the team play for St. Paul’s Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota. Last year the Wall Street Journal published the memorable column about Herbie by former New York Times reporter Gerald Eskenazi that we noted and linked in “Miracle on Ice.”
HINDROCKET adds: I’m on hiatus, but can’t resist returning for a moment to reminisce about what was for us Minnesotans, and many other Americans, the best sports story of our lives. I was at the 1980 Olympics with my then-wife. I sent off for tickets, and my application got lost, so I never heard back. I pretty much forgot about it until a week before the games were going to begin, when my ticket application was rediscovered and a set of tickets arrived in the mail. We made arrangements on short notice, and lucked out in that someone canceled on an apartment right next to Whiteface Mountain, so we didn’t have to put up with the bus snafus that marred those games. It was great fun: if you have never attended an Olympics, I recommend it. The international atmosphere was wonderful. The ABC camera crew stayed in the same hotel we did, and every night, after attending whatever events we had tickets to during the day, we’d assemble in the lounge, drink Labatt’s and watch the day’s events on TV. The ABC guys would critique one another’s shots, often hilariously.
No one thought much of our hockey team’s chances, but we had followed the team and knew what Herb Brooks was capable of. I kept telling the ABC guys the US team had a shot. We had to leave before the hockey tournament was over, but watched the final, as I recall, in a hotel in South Bend, Indiana.
At that time I was doing some work with clients on the Iron Range, and one of them, who lived in Hibbing and knew several members of the team, described how every resident of the town listened to the semifinal game against the Soviets on the radio, and, when it was over, emerged from their homes in a universal celebration.
Much later, I found myself living across a pond from one of the players on the 1980 team; his daughter and my oldest daughter were elementary school classmates, and my daughter was impressed when her friend brought her dad’s Olympic gold medal to school for show and tell. She was less impressed–grossed out, in fact–when she learned that Mrs. Rocket, when in junior high school, had had a poster of her friend’s father, whom she knew as a middle-aged guy with a beard, taped inside her locker at school.
If you haven’t seen the movie Miracle, I’d recommend it highly. In today’s sports world, every few months there is a Greatest Game of the Decade, if not of the Century. Most are forgotten within a matter of days. For a number of reasons, the 1980 gold medal has only grown in stature with the passage of time.
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