I believe.
August 12, 2003 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Do you believe in miracles? During the height of the cold war, an unlikely group of Americans did the impossible. Herb Brooks gathered these college athletes into a team, and executed the miracle on ice, defeating the "unbeatable" Soviet Union. Sadly, Herb Brooks has died, leaving behind family, friends and fans who wonder if he might still be alive, had he buckled up.
posted by mosch (20 comments total)
Atheist I may be, but one group of heavily-padded people beating another group of heavily-padded people at a game played on ice with long sticks does not consitute a 'miracle'.
posted by humuhumu at 8:39 AM on August 12, 2003

The miracle lay in the outcome. Honestly, I'm not even remotely a hockey fan and I find the miracle on ice story moving. If your whole purpose in a thread is to piss on it with semantic parsing, maybe you should think twice at the preview screen before hitting post.
posted by jonson at 8:47 AM on August 12, 2003

people beating another group of heavily-padded people at a game played on ice with long sticks does not consitute a 'miracle'.

College kids perform Olympic miracle They were playing NHL professional players too. USA back then did not allow professionals on their Olympic team, so it was a miracle. Or as an atheist, you don't have miracle in your dictionary. So how did you see it, the word miracle?
posted by thomcatspike at 9:02 AM on August 12, 2003

It's been done.
posted by sudasana at 9:03 AM on August 12, 2003

Okay, I get the message... a team of college kids who supposedly had no hope beat a team of top sportsmen. It meant an awful lot to people and it was a very impressive achievement. But it's the sort of thing that happens now and again. That's the beauty of sport. People pull off astounding and surprising achievements, and they should be rightly celebrated (take the guy who just won the British Open, and the coolness he showed over the last nine holes). But it's not something that can't be understood, is it? Miraculous = something which cannot be readily explained.
posted by humuhumu at 9:11 AM on August 12, 2003

If someone says "Cinderella Story", I'm gonna go postal.
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:12 AM on August 12, 2003

Wow, this sucks. Coincidentally, HBO replayed the "Miracle on Ice" documentary the other night. A bit sappy, yes, but thoroughly enjoyable. Though, I was in grade 7 in 1980, I remember the Soviet game like it was yesterday. Certain posters' curmudgeonly reactions nothwithstanding, the chronicle of those two weeks in February 1980, I think, was easily the best pure sports story of my lifetime.
posted by psmealey at 9:13 AM on August 12, 2003

I think when we're talking about something that was very moving, that got a whole lot of people interested in a sporting event they've never previously cared about (my entire family watched the gold medal match together -- that never happens), a touch of hyperbole is permissible, and frankly adds to the enjoyment.
posted by JanetLand at 9:16 AM on August 12, 2003

I was in the 10th grade and I remember watching both the Soviet match and the gold medal match very vividly. As was mentioned at the time it was the Cold War, the Iraninan mess was going on, and a group of college kids went out and kicked ass on a VASTLY superior Soviet team. College isn't the minor leagues for hockey like it is for other sports, and hockey wasn't nearly as popular in the USA as it is now. It brought a measure of national pride and good feeling that went beyond just a sporting event. After they beat the Soviet team, it was as if they were invincible. R.I.P. Herb Brooks.

The bad thing that came of it is that it seems the whole flag waving USA chanting crap really started heavily after that.

And, on preview, what JanetLand said.
posted by Eekacat at 9:45 AM on August 12, 2003


\Humu"humu\, n. [Per. or Ar. hamm[=a]n.] The act of splitting hair.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:53 AM on August 12, 2003

They were playing NHL professional players too.

I believe that at the time, there were no Russian NHL players. I think that the first Russian player who came over, Alexander Mogilny, defected from the Soviet Union sometime in the late 80's.
posted by alidarbac at 9:54 AM on August 12, 2003

\Humu"humu\, n. [Per. or Ar. hamm[=a]n.] The act of splitting hair.

Heh. Rather, the act of choosing to split hairs in a thread which reminds almost everyone of the greatest sporting event they've ever seen and which holds enormously fond sentimental memories for them. Good call there, I think.
posted by humuhumu at 10:17 AM on August 12, 2003

God hates the Russians. Pass it on .
posted by bradth27 at 10:30 AM on August 12, 2003

They were playing NHL professional players too. Meant the series all the way to the medal against Finland.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:49 AM on August 12, 2003

Americans simply did not have a lot of pride in their country in the the late 1970s. I was in high school then, and I remember that the national consciousness was dominated by post-Watergate and post-Vietnam mentality. If anyone thinks the economy is bad now, in the late 1970s, we suffered from inflation that hovered around 10-13 percent annually, double-digit unemployment and interest rates that approached 20 percent. We were absolutely powerless to stop the Soviet Union's communist expansion. We lacked the ability to deal with a rouge government (Iran) that was illegally holding our diplomats hostage. Everyone thought that the United States' military and economic influence in the world was in a rapid state of decline.

I recall that the hockey team made Americans feel better about themselves as a nation, during a time when there was almost nothing to feel good about.
posted by Durwood at 10:54 AM on August 12, 2003

It was interesting to follow the players in this 1980 tournament the did well in the NHL during the 80's. I believe that the Swedish Goaltender (beaten in the final seconds of the first game) was Pelle Lindbergh, who was an all star many times with the Philadelphia Flyers. I seem to recall that he tragically died in a car accident while he was still in his prime. Also, I think there were at least a couple of Stastny's (Anton and Peter) on the Czech team that the US team trounced 7-3 during the next game. I am little hazier on the Finns, but I think they had a couple of guys (Mikka Leinanen?) that made the NHL as well.

For all their success, I think other than Kenny Morrow and Mark Johnson, most of the other members of the 1980 team washed out after a season or two in the NHL. Jim Craig had a well publicized debut with the then Atlanta Flames, but I think he was waived before the end of the season.

Really it was too bad only a few people got to see Vladislav Tretiak play, he really may have been the best goaltender in the history of hockey, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek notwithstanding. Such unbelieveable reflexes.

My high school hockey coach bought made us sit through hours of Soviet Red Army hockey game footage. To say that they were the dominant team at the time really understates the case. They were fast, talented, disciplined, powerful and awe-inspiringly graceful.
posted by psmealey at 11:16 AM on August 12, 2003


The USSR won Olympic gold in men’s hockey in 1956, ’64, ’68, ’72, ’76, ’84 and ’88. (See the two gaps in the pattern, 1960 and 1980: those golds were won by the United States on home ice.) Soviets won the world championships 22 times from 1954 through 1989. Can you say dynasty? I can, and I spell it CCCP. ... The story of the United States team from 1980 is well-known. College boys, the best home-grown amateurs of their day. Average age: 22. Some were collegiate champions.

The web tells me that the 1980 Soviet team included Slava Fetisov, but I can't find the whole roster. Was the KLM (Krutov, Larionov and Makarov) line together then?
posted by turbodog at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2003

We lacked the ability to deal with a rouge government (Iran)

Rouge government? No wonder they're in the axis of evil.
posted by pooligan at 12:25 PM on August 12, 2003

Rouge government?

You make me blush.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:28 PM on August 12, 2003

Rouge government?

So THAT's what Karlheinz Stockhausen – “Hymnen” is all about!
posted by Eekacat at 2:09 PM on August 12, 2003

« Older Liberation detainment   |   Remixed G.I. Joe PSAs. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments