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January 11, 2010

When I'm "down" on America I watch a movie:

A very specific movie. Some claim the best sports movie of all time is Bull Durham. I liked it. I like most of'em, especially Rudy and Brian's Song. But . . . I am secure in the conviction that Miracle is the most uplifting if not the best.

America was really down--as low as it had been in my adult lifetime--in 1980, the last year of Carter's disastrous presidency. Everything seemed wrong, and most of it was. In one of his fits of pique he cancelled us out of the summer Olympics because of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan.

In what was called "The Miracle on Ice," the American hockey team scored an incredible victory over the best hockey team in the world--Russia--and then went Gold

Miracle, the movie, was made in 2004 starring Kurt Russell as the coach, Herb Brooks. It is perhaps his finest role on film. His supporting cast was as remarkable as was his team.

The movie is wonderfully choreographed, using original voice recordings from the Olympics, matched to filmed action and events which reminds of the exact nature of the games. When those recordings were made no one knew the outcome. Now we do, and I am still thrilled by them.

The brilliant coaching, hard work, and team-play by "the boys" were alone astonishing as they moved into the medal rounds. But the Russian team had played together for 15 years, the boys 6 months. The Russians were mature men, some having played together for the entire time, having been almost undefeated for 15 years. They were a shoo-in for the gold, again, and everyone knew it.

But Brooks knew they could be defeated, and instilled in his boys the will to believe, and to win.

In the dramatic game, portrayed masterfully in the film, the Russians led off with a goal, matched later by a U.S. goal. The Russians scored again, but with one second on the clock the boys matched it. First period score was 2/2.

The Russians became alarmed and started being vicious, but our guys shrugged it off and matched them. The Reds scored again, and in their haste to overpower, drew a two minute penalty with a "slashing" call. With only seconds to go in the penalty time the boys scored again, tying it at 3/3.

With 10 minutes left, the U.S. scored again. Ahead at last! The remaining ten minutes were exhausting, but they held. At the bell, USA! USA! USA! rang out. It was as thrilling as the first time, 30 years ago. And it is every time I watch the film. That's why I watch.

IT WAS A LOT MORE THAN A HOCKEY GAME! It provided a much needed boost to American morale.

It was the last time we used amateurs in the Olympics. Since then we've depended upon the pros; a mistake in my estimation.

Brooks commented:
"Now that we have 'dream teams' we seldom get to dream. But on that weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed the most: a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance once again to believe."

I need that again. We need that again. I believe that we can prevail over our present difficulties if we again work hard, tend the goals and continue to believe. To hell with this looney "hopey-changey" crap. Hope doesn't accomplish much. Only hard work. . . . and a little luck helps, too.

Watch the movie and get motivated.

Posted by Curmudgeon at January 11, 2010 1:20 PM