Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do you believe in miracles? YES!!


The title of this post is one of the most memorable play by play calls of the 1980's. It is also is a call that made many of us proud to be Americans.

I was reminded of this as I was watching an interview with Al Michaels during the Today Show this morning. Al Michaels called the play by play for the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and Soviet Union also known as the "miracle on ice". But for now, let me back up.

Personally, life was going well for me at that time, Kathy and I got married the year before, but for the country and for the world things were not looking all that good. For the first time in this country, the price of gas went over $1.00 a gallon, inflation was in double digits, and unemployment rate was rising. Overseas wasn't all that great either. The U.S. embassy was taken over in Iran and 56 Americans were held hostage, and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. and other nations then made plans to boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic games, which were to be held in Moscow.

The 1980 winter Olympics took place in Lake Placid, New York. The Americans sent their best amateur athletes to the Olympics to compete against the other countries professionals. The hockey team was no exception. They weren't really expected to go for the gold, but they were about to give us many thrills and memories. They tied Sweden, then went on to beat Czechoslovakia, Norway, Romania, and East Germany. Then came the Soviets.

Friday, February 22, 1980, the world witnessed the Miracle on Ice, the United States versus the Soviet Union. The first period ended with the score tied 2-2, second ending with the Soviets ahead 3-2. The United States came back with 2 goals to defeat the Soviets, and from coast to coast, we all were a proud country. The lasting image I have from that game was goalie Jim Craig, flag draped across his shoulders, looking into the crowd. you could read his lips as he said "where's my dad?"

The cover of the March 3, 1980 Sports Illustrated, was the only cover in the magazine's history that had no headline and no caption, just a photo of the U.S. hockey team celebrating the win.

Oh yeah, two days later they defeated Finland for the gold medal.

7 comments:

Anna M Blanch said...

Thanks for putting things in perspective. You have a great knack for that. I hope things are looking up in the job search department too. Hoping for more miracles!

wzzp said...

Great post Cliff!

I was almost 5 when this happened, and I still remember the USA playing the USSR. I remember President Carter calling the team to send his congratulations on their victory, our victory.

NBC ran a look back piece this evening, and it all came back to me like it was yesterday. It was a great moment for all Americans, and an early memory of my life.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I DO believe in miracles...and this is just a great story to remember!!!!

Tim Lones said...

Cliff:
Got your email tonight re:Cleveland Classic Media mentioning the Miracle On Ice..I frankly hadnt thought of doing anything special..Turns out I couldnt do any better than what you wrote tonight..

While I was aware and proud of the USA did in 1980, Any Hockey I followed then (as now) usually had to do with the Cleveland Pro teams (Barons [AHL twice], Crusaders,Barons[NHL], Lumberjacks, Monsters) ..And Cleveland didnt have a team in 1980

Another side note:Linda and I went up to a Monsters game a couple weeks ago in which Jim Craig was special guest..Awesome night..

Syd said...

that was a great accomplishment.

Struke said...

Thanks, Cliff, for posting this. I was 10 at the time and remember it. I remember gas being around a dollar and my parents looking for the best gas prices. Wow. How times have changed.

Margaret said...

I wish I would have paid more attention to this time.It was such a proud moment. I was a college senior who didn't think much about what was happening in the world. Kind of a pity now that I look back..