I’m sitting here watching “Miracle,” which is about the 1980 Gold medal winning U.S. Hockey team. The part where Herb makes the boys do what are now called “Herbies,” skating is a tough thing to watch but it’s a breaking through point. That’s what I love about sports. There’s always that moment when things seem to click and the team gels. I love that.
Is anybody else interested in watching “Cool Runnings,” “Miracle,” “The Cutting Edge,” or some other winter sport related film right about now like me? I can’t help but want to because I love the Winter Olympics! I grew up watching these astonishing athletes every four years come together, put on an amazing performance and all in the name of friendly competition. There are so many things that I love about sports and sports film, it’s hard to wrap it up briefly.
Clearly, what I love the most about “Miracle” is not only the fantastic ending and that it really happened that way but that it took a ton of hard work to get there. There were moments when those players hated Herb Brooks but that’s what united them. Herb understood this. He was willing to sacrifice likability for something bigger than him, bigger than his team and in that instance, bigger than the Olympics and that game. The politics surrounding that time for the U.S. and the world was intense, sound familiar. It seems over simplistic for one very young hockey team to be what unified a nation but that’s virtually what happened.
To me, sports has always been a wonderful metaphor for life. There’s always the good and bad guys; there’s the sacrifices that must be made in order to achieve the ultimate goal; there’s all the mental toughness required to get to that point, etc. Team sports are particularly great for life because there are times when you have to be able to work with people you don’t like; there’s times when you have to pick up the slack for a hurt teammate, etc. The comparisons are endless in my mind. I love it!
Then, of course, there’s the inspirational speeches. I really love those. Granted, given that I love to write clearly I have a soft spot for awesome words. Inspirational speeches are just that. It goes beyond that though. Those speeches really make you want to get up and be the Rocky Balboa of whatever sport you play or instrument you play, etc. You can’t help but feel like taking on the world after a great speech. Okay maybe you don’t, but I certainly do. I’m a softie for that stuff…I can’t help it. Sports movies are just an extension of all that good stuff.
I do like it when the endings aren’t always so perfect. That sounds odd I’m sure, but the truth is in sports, life isn’t always perfect. The good guys don’t always win. Again, another metaphor for life. We don’t always get what we want. Just how it is folks. Ask any Olympian who finally didn’t get the gold medal he or she wanted or to even medal at all. There are many broken dreams during the two weeks of the Olympics. Of course, many would also say that simply getting there is a huge accomplishment and it is – most people never get to those games. It’s pretty amazing.
The other part I truly admire of the Olympics and Olympians is at the end of the day, it’s only about the sports and athletes. “Miracle” was a bit of an exception and even now politics are sneaking into the Olympics but really for the athletes there’s a mutual respect. They all understand the hard work and effort it takes to get to the games. There’s a professionalism in the Olympics you don’t see in professional sports (i.e. the continued trash talk by recent Super Bowl winners, the Seattle Seahawks). There’s no need for that by Olympians. They know better.
If you don’t like sports, um…I’m sorry. Sports aren’t for everyone. There are definitely lots of other things that fill in where sports may not be an interest. For me though, sports are wonderful. The Olympics are truly special. Best of luck to all the athletes. Go Team USA!