On February 22, 1980, the U.S. Hockey Team beat the Soviets 4-3 to advance to the the Olympic gold medal game against Finland. The funny thing is nobody really remembers anything about that game, which the U.S. won. Instead, it was the victory over the Russians that came to be known as The Miracle On Ice that people remember. As much as people remember that victory they remember announcer Al Michaels declaring at the end of the game…”Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!!”
The 1980 Olympic games were played in Lake Placid, New York but was actually seen on tape delay as the game was played at 5:00 p.m. but not shown in prime time until 8:00 p.m. The Soviets were heavy favorites. They had won the gold medal in five of the six previous Winter Olympic Games and had beaten the U.S. 10 – 3 in an exhibition game just two weeks before. The Soviets were paid professionals while the U.S. team was made of young college kids and amateur league players. For the U.S. to win this game was nothing short of a sports miracle. The victory became one of the most iconic moments of the Games and in U.S. sports. It is talked about as not only one of the greatest Olympic moments, not only one of the greatest hockey moments, but one of the greatest and most memorable moments in all of sports history. But it was not only a sports moment but a national moment that reverberated throughout the entire United States. At the time our country was involved in one crises after another. American hostages held in Iran, the soaring stress of inflation and rising gas prices put the country in an ever tightening vice grip. The country needed something…it needed something and someone to rally around and to feel good about. Something that would unite it and help it rise above it’s malaise. It needed a miracle.
Saturday will be 40 years since the Miracle On Ice. Here we are still talking about it and how special it was. We are amazed and speak in glowing terms of where we were and how we felt. And when I watch the videos or hear the interviews or see the highlights I have those same feelings. I wasn’t there in Lake Placid but I knew something special happened. Something that we mark with great pride and celebration every 10 years or so. Now, when we call it a miracle we understand it in terms of it being a sports miracle. Not Divine intervention. But 2000 years ago Jesus walked the earth and He performed many miracles. Everything from raising people to the dead to calming storms to walking on the water to healing the blind and deaf When it comes to miracles and works of divine intervention that were performed by and through Jesus, the apostle John states it this way:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name…. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 20 & 21)
For some reason I can read the miracles of Jesus and feel kind of blasé and have no emotional attachment to them. I can take them for granted. I am deeply moved by the Miracle On Ice but feel ho-hum about the Miracles On Land and Sea. Maybe it’s because I can see actual video recording of the hockey game. Maybe because it happened in my lifetime. Maybe because I know people who were there in Lake Placid. And to think that even with all the miracles that were recorded there are tons more that we don’t even know about. So I pray that I could begin to appreciate the enormity of those miracles of Jesus and not take them for granted. That I could read about them and let them come alive in my imagination. That I could hear them over and over and over again and sense the excitement of those who were miraculously healed or miraculously fed or saw things they never thought or imagined. That I would continue to believe that miracles still happen.
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?