Sunday, 16 June 2024

How do you teach young people the importance of standards in a world gone crazy with Reality TV?

Night after night we see people embarrassed, humiliated, diminished and trivialized all in the name of entertainment.

More than fifty years ago when I first read Animal Farm, I never thought I would live long enough to experience it, but doublethink is everywhere.

Right is wrong and good is bad as long as we prevail. Those who prevail are the darlings of the market place.

“The Donald’s Rules” prevail in the board room and, increasingly so, in the classroom.

Our popular culture can’t get enough of this junk.

Insensitive, desensitized, bottom line, groupies all, we march in full bloviation toward the emptiness of Survivor, It Takes a Thief and Fear Factor. People love it.

In my last five months in the classroom I wanted to do something different. Haunted by the order from my supervisor to reduce my standards, I decided to do just the opposite. I decided to make a stand. I decided to take my students to a place and time when standards were high, hard work was the norm, teamwork was expected and no one was entitled to anything.

Enter genuine heroes, Herb Brooks and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, America’s miracle workers. Celebrated in movie and narrative, remembered by many, understood by few. They are inspirations to us all.

I would draw my line in the sand and make my tiny historical ripple with an assignment designed to help my students become bigger and better than they ever thought they could be in all the ways that count in life.

They were going to recreate the life of Herb Brooks and his boys, and they were going to celebrate every detail of that story and the story of the place where the miracle happened.

In the last semester of their senior year in college, they were going to be coached by Herb Brooks, Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig et al.

Without budget and energized by the power of an idea, we started our journey in January 2005.

We were going to become a tiny part of a celebration of excellence, standards, sacrifice, teamwork and poetry that was Herb Brook’s dream. We were going to do what Josh Billings said men seldom do. We were going to be the best at knowing the history, culture and significance of one moment in 1980…the moment when Americans became believers again.
records our journey. It is a place to display the work of 20 Mass Communication majors at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Twenty seniors, who rolled up their sleeves, put down their heads and enthusiastically marched back to 1980 and the greatest moment in sport in the last century. In this place we will record what they learned. This is the record of their accomplishment. This is the story of their gold medal.

Our Miracle at Placid Project is dedicated to Mrs. Herb Brooks and her two children, Danny and Kelly. Without their sacrifices there never would have been a miracle at Lake Placid. All of us who study the life of Herb Brooks and the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team are in your debt.

In the weeks ahead we will add the audio, video, art, history, narrative, design photography and much more to this site. It will detail the growth and development of everyone who worked on this project.

This site was activated at 8 p.m. on February 23, 2005, at about the time the 1980 Olympic Arena in the Olympic Center at Lake Placid, NY, was dedicated to Herb Brooks.

Tony Mussari, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
King’s College
Wilkes-Barre , PA
Windsor Park Stories