The game stands among the greatest achievements in our history, right up there with victory in World War II, the moon landing, and the launch of the iPod.
For my younger and non-sports related readers the Miracle on Ice is the Olympic hockey game between the USSR hockey team, easily the best in the world, and certainly semi-professional as most if not all the players had played together for years and were in the Red Army to boot (I wonder how much army stuff they did…)
Nobody realistically thought the US team would win (The Virginia Right blog was not around for good or ill in those days or we might have said – well Dave Brat might have won…) especially after a 10-3 pasting on them by the Soviets in Madison Square Garden just before the Games started.
But they did win. It was a uplift the nation needed.
But today, the US hockey, basketball, tennis and soon to be golf are dominated by pro players. It is a system that makes a future Miracle impossible in these sports. Or as Coach Herb Brooks said at the end of the movie: Now that we have dream teams, we don’t get to dream.
And we crush the dreams of other smaller nations that cannot compete. Here’s a post (from 2014) that I largely agree with! Try this conclusion:
In many sports, no longer is our country being represented by the everyman gladiator of the Olympian ideal, those who trained and sacrificed so much for the express goal of hearing chants of “USA” and the Star Spangled Banner played from atop a podium. Instead, our Olympic “heroes” are often the same well-paid icons we watch on TV, and whose images beam from posters on our kids’ bedroom walls. As a result, sought-after Olympic slots, once open to student athletes and neighbors from all walks of life, are now the exclusive domain of the elite supermen already raking in the big bucks in the pro leagues.
During a certain time in history, allowing professionals to compete in the Olympics might have seemed like a good idea. However, with the fall of communism and the socialist way of grooming athletes, it’s a solution for a disparity that no longer exists.
But was the Dream Team and all it symbolized a triumph or a tragedy? Perhaps we should be asking what has been forever lost in this transformation of the Olympic ideal? Can we ever have a ‘Miracle on Ice’ again? Shouldn’t professional competitions be left to the likes of the World Cup?
I’d much rather see the Olympics return to its vision of an amateur competition celebrating the ideals of sport and encouraging peace and understanding among the nations of the world. Isn’t that what made it unique in the first place? I’d much prefer to see the U.S. win an occasional gold meal with true amateurs rather than dominate with the best athletes money can buy.
Now that would be a dream worth celebrating.
Thanks to Gary Frisch and Steve Malkenson for their visionary stand for the right.
We need to renounce sports imperialism. Otherwise we dishonor the Miracle on Ice and those who accomplished it. Here’s the USOC contact page – let ’em know: Something must be done about the proliferation of pro athletes in the Olympic Games.
To read more, search this blog site for my posts on sports imperialism.