Hoping for the next Miracle on Ice
I enjoy the Winter Olympics. Every four years, I eagerly follow the build-up to the games, competition for spots on American teams, construction of sites in the host country, opening ceremonies, athletic competitions and extensive media coverage of the Games.
Lately, every time I walk in the front door, I go straight to the TV, hoping the Olympics are on. Whatever events are broadcast, I’m ready to watch and then stay tuned to hear the comments of newscasters and past Olympic medalists. I find the entire Olympic scene fascinating. Most of all, the skill, determination and pure hard work that creates such high-caliber athletes amazes and impresses me.
Along with many other Americans, when I think about Winter Olympics, I invariably remember 1980 and the American hockey victory over the Soviet Union team at Lake Placid, New York.
Nobody expected that victory, right? Assorted American college boys against the disciplined organization of the Soviet national team? A U.S. victory was unlikely, to say the least. The Miracle on Ice happened, though, and it was an unforgettable moment when the Americans won. (They went on to beat Finland for the gold.)
That February, I was visiting my mother and stepfather in Yuma, Arizona. They had gone next door to visit neighbors, and I was alone in their mobile home, watching Olympic coverage on TV. My recollection is that I watched the Americans play the Soviet Union hockey team, watched the Americans win. And I remember that I then dashed out of the dim living room into the bright afternoon yelling, “The Americans won! The American hockey team beat the Soviets!” And then, silence.
To back up a moment, perhaps I’ve mentioned before that when I have visited or lived in retirement communities in Arizona, the streets and sidewalks have tended to be empty during the afternoons. I have looked out a window in a community tailored for older people and not seen one sign of movement anywhere I looked. Not a car. Not a pedestrian. Not a dog or a rabbit.
So I guess on that sun-drenched February afternoon when the Americans beat the Soviet Union hockey team, I should not have been surprised when I ran outside and found nobody visible in any direction. There was nobody to hear me yelling! (Nor was anyone else bursting out the door of a mobile home shouting!) The only movement I saw anywhere was a lizard, his reptile body soaking up heat from a concrete wall. Startled (of course!), he darted into a crack.
I ran to the neighbors, pounded on the door, and ran in without waiting for them to answer. Oddly, I cannot recall the reaction of the neighbors – or of my mother and stepfather – when I ran shouting into the house. I clearly remember, though, the joy of The Miracle on Ice. I am wishing for another moment like that this February, while – at home in chilly Edmonds – I watch the Americans play Olympic hockey on TV.