Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I caught this last night on HBO; it's a 2001 documentary about the "Miracle on Ice" US Olympic hockey team's victory over the USSR in 1980. It is a very well made film, interspersing archival footage and interviews with US players, sports commentators (damn Al Michaels has been around a long time) and Soviet players to boot. What amazes me about this story--and this happened to me when I saw Miracle in the theater, too--is that I AM ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT when I watch it. I know how it ends!! And still my heart races and I hold my breath and I watch the clock count down, feeling every second.

What was most interesting is that they frame the story in the overall context of how the US was faring internationally, economically, politically, and emotionally at the time of the win. Interviewees talk about the hostage taking in Iran in 1979, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the rampant inflation and recession crushing the US economy, and how, overall, Americans were not happy people or a happy nation. I saw many parallels to our situation today, and it helped to see that, tough as it was, we rebounded as a nation. I know that's a big generalization and I'm painting the issue in broad strokes, but I don't think it's wrong to take hope from it, or to use a sporting event writ large to make a comment on the human condition and how we treat each other. After last week, this made me feel better, and I'll take that at this point, no questions asked.


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