Unfortunately, this post is not going as planned. My original idea was a compare/contrast between the two gold medal winning U.S. Olympic Hockey Teams - 1980 and 2010. Alas, victory escaped the U.S. in the last few minutes of overtime! Congratulations to our neighbors to the North, Canada - great game!
Let's reflect on 1980 . . .
Thirty years have passed since that Sunday afternoon, but I still remember February 24, 1980 very clearly. We were a family of all girls (except for Dad!) and sports were not a big part of our family life. Sitting down to watch a sporting event together (or separately) did not happen very often - actually it didn't happen at all! But on that one Sunday afternoon in February, we were all mesmerized by what was happening at an ice rink two hundred miles away in Lake Placid, New York. Was it because the team was comprised of so many locals (Jim Craig, Jack O'Callahan, Mike Eruzione and Dave Silk were all Massachusetts natives and attended Boston University)? Or was the world captivated by these young men because they were true underdogs - college hockey players who had been thrown together as a team only six months before, training with Coach Herb Brooks to play against professional players from all over the world?
The gold medal winning game was against Finland, but much of the focus was on their game against the U.S.S.R. The political climate in the between the U.S. and the Soviets in 1980 was unfriendly, a holdover from the Cold War that had begun decades earlier. The U.S.S.R. had also invaded Afghanistan just weeks before the Olympic Games began, causing even more friction between the two nations and making the two teams natural rivals.