Some sports moments grow bigger and bigger with time, and take on outsized importance because they happened so long ago.
What I mean is, some sports moments weren’t that momentous at the time, but they grow in myth as the years go by.
The 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team’s victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Lake Placid Olympics isn’t one of those moments.
It was enormous then. It was enormous a year later, 10 years later, 20 years, 30 years later, and it’s still enormous now, as Saturday is the 40th anniversary of the greatest upset in team sports history.
I don’t need to tell you why, unless you are under 30 years old and/or lived under a rock in 1980. A bunch of scraggly-faced college kids from mostly from Minnesota and Boston rose up and defeated the greatest hockey dynasty of all time, the professionals from the USSR, 4-3.
It was an absolute stunner for many reasons, including that the Russians had destroyed all competition at the last several Olympic games, the American team had lost to the Soviets in a warm-up game 143-4 (OK it wasn’t that bad, only 10-3) and the mood of America in February, 1980 was less than stellar.
And so these baby-faced kids went out there, inspired by an amazing Herb Brooks speech (yeah you can watch Kurt Russell do it in “Miracle” but it’s not the same ) and did the impossible.
I’ve watched the fantastic HBO documentary on the victory (it’s on YouTube, I can’t recommend it highly enough), seen “Miracle,” and watched and read countless other stories about that game.
And still, when I put that final minute of the game clip up at the top of this post a few minutes ago, I watched it for the 353rd time and still got chills when Al Michaels asked if I believed in miracles.
Happy 40th anniversary to the greatest upset in sports. It will never, ever get old.
**Next up today, this was a beautiful moment that probably meant so much to one woman going through a struggle.
At the famous Cleveland Clinic hospital recently, a son snuck onto the grounds and wrote a heartfelt message to his mom, in the snow.
I really hope she saw it, and I really hope she got a smile knowing a kid she brought into this world really, really loves her.
What a special, sweet gesture.
**And finally today, an absolutely remarkable story and piece of video that made me smile in awe.
A woman named Dagmar Turner had brain surgery in London recently. Turner is an accomplished violinist, and doctors (and she) were concerned that the delicate surgery might affect the motor skills she needs to play the instrument so beautifully.
So, and this blows my mind just typing this, they kept her slightly awake during the operation and had her play the violin during the surgery.
According to this story in The Washington Post, “Surgeons working close to parts of the brain that control important functions such as speech or movement routinely keep patients awake to best determine where tumor gives way to something vital.
King’s College Hospital, which treated Turner, often gives people language tests during such surgeries, said Keyoumars Ashkan, the neurosurgeon who oversaw Turner’s delicate operation, and who also happens to be a musician. But last month’s procedure marked the first time he’d presided over a private serenade.”
“Turner went under general anesthesia while they opened her skull. But the brain itself does not have pain receptors, and she was wide-awake for the tumor’s removal, playing Gershwin, Mahler and more”
This is wild. I mean, I’ve heard of surgeons humming music while they operate, but this is a live concert! In the OR!
I would guess at her next performance, no distraction from the audience wold throw her off, you know?