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Sunday, October 9, 2016



This cranky re-run is from October 2013

Of all the sports in the world, I rank hockey just one notch above curling and synchronized swimming, and yet the greatest sporting event I ever watched was a hockey game.
A lot of you probably saw this same game, and everyone probably knows the story but the interesting fact that many of you may have forgotten or not known is that very few people saw this game live.
In 1980, the US Hockey Team had a solid chance at winning a medal in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.  This was before professionals could participate in the Olympics.  The US team consisted of collegiate players. 
A medal was in their grasp, the gold was a pipe dream.  To win the gold the US had to get through the Russians.  The Russians, perennial “Amateur” champs.  The Russians, the same team which toyed with the US in an exhibition game 11-1 months earlier.  The cold-war evil empire Russians were considered invincible and had dominated the amateur hockey world since 1954.  Most people believed the Russians could compete in the NHL and dominate.  In fact they were 5-3 in NHL exhibition games.
The US faced the Russians in the semi-final game.  It took place in the afternoon.   In this day and age there is no way they would allow this game to not be played and broadcast in prime time, but it was a different time, not ruled by television.
The game was televised on tape delay at night.  There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no internet, and if you didn’t want to know the outcome before the tape delay was broadcast it was very simple and the media went to great lengths to not broadcast the outcome.  I sat down in front of my TV at 8:00 pm and tuned into watch the impending slaughter.
I don’t remember the exact details, but I believe it was a 2-2 tie after the first period; that in itself was a huge victory.  After the second period the score was 3-2 in favor of the USSR (go ahead and Google it if you want.)

Only a one goal deficit at the end of the second period against the Russians was unbelievable.  I still assumed at this point that the Russians would come alive in the third period and blow the US out, but then…
The TV accidently flashed to a live shot of people cheering and dancing in the streets of Lake Placid. 
“OMG…did we score a goal and somehow hold on for a tie?”
To tie the Russians would have been incredible; a win never crossed my mind.
In the third period the US did tie the game, and then Mike Eruzione scored what will forever be the most famous goal in US Hockey history to put the US ahead 4-3.
“Damn, maybe we did tie the Russians.”
Even though we were winning, the thought of anything better than a tie still never crossed my mind.
As the period continued I waited for the Russians tying goal. 

It never came. 

As Al Michaels counted down the final seconds of the game, he yelled that famous call,
“Do you believe in miracles?  YES!!
Many people forget that the US still had one more game to secure the gold medal.  They played Finland 8:00 am the next day, a Saturday morning.  I think all of the USA set their alarms for 8:00 that morning, and watched the still underdog USA team managed to beat Finland to win the gold.
What prompted this memory?
Mrs. Cranky just asked me, “Do the Giants or Jets have a chance to play in the Super Bowl this year?”


  1. Not sure of the rest of the season, but after the Giants lost to the Packers tonight, not sure if potential to win the Super Bowl is possible this year. Didn't they make a movie about the 1980 hockey team starring Kurt Russell? Yes I do believe in miracles, saw a few myself, not sure all are necessarily sports related :)


  2. My Minnesota Vikings are kicking butt now. It's a long season. Nobody knows who will win the Superbowl

  3. (Deer caught in the headlights here) I have no idea, I do not follow any of the games. (Some people don't, you know?)

  4. Goodness, I haven't ever seen a hockey match. I played the game at school but usually ended up with a sprained ankle. It kinda put me off!

  5. darn. thought by your title it would be another political post...

  6. Oh, yes, i believe in miracles. It would take a miracle for a lot of teams to make the playoffs at all, much less the Super Bowl (or the College Championship).

  7. Clevelanders definitely believe in miracles. Otherwise, the dawg pound would be empty at Browns games.

  8. I was not one of the folks watching this. I don't think I even cared. I know I was working. I was always working.

    I do believe in miracles. I've seen a few in my life.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  9. The cold-war evil empire Russians... ...had dominated the amateur hockey world since 1954."

    Except for that one time in Squaw Valley

  10. I'm like you regarding Hockey. Unfortunately for me, I can't seem to follow the puck. However I do remember that game in detail. It was a doozie. I was unaware that it was not seen live. Can you imagine today with social media? No way could that secret have been kept. Glad I lived in a simpler time and was blissfully ignorant.

  11. I know nothing about sports. Well, I do know that the Browns suck. But I remember that game! Made me proud to be an American, unlike the election, candidates and debates. Anyway, I do believe in miracles so I hope that counts for something! Lord knows we could use a few of them! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  12. I've been watching the Philadelphia Eagles this year because of their rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who hails from Bismarck, North Dakota, my home state and a city I worked in for six years. They were undefeated until yesterday when the Lions beat them by one point.

  13. I would like to say that I remember that moment. I guess maybe I've seen clips of it. I was in college then. If that game was at 8:00 on a Friday night, I'm pretty sure I was up to something else.

  14. I am a believer in miracles. I've seen/experienced, many. To show you how big of a believer I am, every year I cheer for the Detroit Lions. Every year we need a miracle.