Saturday, 02 March 2024

The History of a Miracle

I wasn’t even a thought in my parents mind when the Olympic gold was won by the United States in hockey. Then throughout my life I had no idea about Iran capturing Americans as hostages, people waiting on mile long lines for gas, the Russian takeover of Afghanistan. Now I find myself reliving the time period of the late 1970s to 1980. As much as I can see myself dancing to the popular disco music, I can never imagine waiting on line for hours hoping there’s still gas left when I get up to the pump. The most unexpected victory of the century caused a brief moment when all the problems faded into the background. The victory by the US Hockey Team at the 1980 Olympics was a sports miracle and morale boost for a weary nation.

My part in the “Miracle at Placid” project is to take you outside the rink in the little town of Lake Placid, New York, and provide a picture of the world when the US team beat the Russian and Swedish teams.

It was a challenging time in America:
• the Cold War escalated;
• Iran held Americans hostage;
• there were long lines at all the gas pumps;
• President Carter was having troubles in office

Americans were at a low point and needed a miracle to happen. Then they got it from a coach who took 20 young men, molded them into a hockey team that ended up victorious over what was considered the greatest team on earth, and won the gold medal for the USA.

I selected this aspect of the project because I believe it is important for people to understand that even though the world was not perfect, this specific event in Lake Placid brought millions of people together. In addition, my generation as well as others were not here to witness the miracle, so it’s important to fill in the blanks.

The 1980 Olympic Hockey Team and Coach Herb Brooks taught me lessons I never associated with school. Learning Herb Brooks’ philosophy helped me to understand that reaching a goal is not about being the best. It’s about having values and character which allows you to succeed. Believing in yourself, in your colleagues and your work permits you to go beyond what you thought was your greatest potential. Herb Brooks said, “In 25 years, I want these 20 boys to know that they didn’t leave anything on the table.” That explains it all, because I learned that no matter how difficult it may be to accomplish your goal, at the end, you want to make sure nothing was left on the table.

Honesty, courage, leadership and persistence are only some of the values I have learned from Brooks. He taught me to always have courage even when times are at their roughest. And he also taught me to be yourself no matter how hard people might want to change you.

This project started by watching the movie “Miracle,” and it turned out to have one of the biggest impacts on my life. I would have never known what happened at Lake Placid and how it brought a nation together and celebrated what was a strong coach and his team. It taught 20 Mass Communication majors at King’s College lessons they will take with them and reflect on for the rest of their lives. Anything is possible with hard work, persistence and hope, and as Herb Brooks said to his players, “aren’t you glad I wouldn’t let you quit?” The inspiration provided by Dr. Mussari, Herb Brooks and the Olympic Hockey Team did not let us quit.