Today, hockey is far from the most popular sport in the United States. It probably isn’t even among the top three. Some people might argue that hockey isn’t as exciting as it used to be and the players aren’t as recognizable. But Miracle, a widely popular movie about one of the game’s most shining moments may help put hockey back on the map. Miracle is the story about what many believe to be the greatest sports events in history — a hockey game between the Soviet Union and the United States at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Why bring a 1980 sports story to the big screen today? “Much like today, the country in 1980 needed a dramatic American victory to lift its spirits,” said Ross Greenburg Executive Producer of Miracle. “People forget what sports are really about: passion, teamwork, and drive. This movie brings people back to a time when a hockey team became a family, a coach pushed his players to their fullest potential, and the athletes had a great passion for the game.”
The game was not an ordinary hockey game. It was about two feuding countries vying for a gold medal, two rivals on the same team becoming brothers and a whole country backing a hard working group of overachievers. It occurred during the cold war and was at the climax of the Soviets’ 13-year dominance of the sport. The Russians were regarded as the best hockey team in the world after they easily defeated the United States 10-3 in a game played 13 days before the Olympics. Herb Brooks, the coach of the U.S. team, assembled a group of college hockey players for the Olympics, a group no one believed could provide an American victory. Once the US team began winning games, however, the country began to realize that it didn’t take a dream team of stars to rack in the wins – all it took was desire, discipline and hard work to make what seemed impossible, possible.
Defense man Jack O’Callahan was paired with his long-time college rival who he didn’t like very much. Yet, reasoned Brooks, sometimes hate can be turned into an instrument for success, and these two players certainly proved that to be true. O’Callahan remembers the 1980 Olympics game, in which the U.S. beat the Soviets 4-3, as “a very high intensity game for many people”. He said, “[The team’s] victory meant different things to different people, but clearly everyone in both the Soviet Union and the US were touched in some way by it.” What lessons can we derive from such a memorable moment in sports history? Well for one, this game showed a commonality between two feuding countries. It didn’t matter which team was better or stronger, the sole ingredient for both teams was teamwork. Imagine how our world would be if we all worked together at achieving our goals in the same manner that the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team did in shocking everyone with a miracle victory.