Tag Archives: Gatorade

ESPN’s new movie about the Soviet hockey powerhouse is awesome. Gatorade turns 50 and re-releases famous ad. And the most creative and brilliant fan protest ever

Toward the end of the fantastic and illuminating new ESPN 30 for 30 movie “Of Miracles and Men,” a Soviet journalist covering the epic USA-U.S.S.R. 1980 Olympic hockey game was asked what kind of a story he wrote on the event.

“Nothing special,” he replied. “Just that they lost.”

Elaborating, he comes up with a perfect metaphor: If a young boys grows up dreaming of kissing Sophia Loren, then one day finally does it, he runs around telling everyone for the rest of his life that he kissed Sophia Loren. But does Sophia Loren remember kissing that boy? Of course not. It was no big deal.”

This is part of the genius of Jonathan Hock’s movie, which traces the rise of Soviet hockey from the 1940s until the classic 1980 “Miracle on Ice.” To Americans, that game will live forever as a wonderful underdog story. To Russians, it’s just an unfathomable loss that’s painful to speak out, even three decades later.

And that’s one of the many takeaways of the film: In interviewing all the key Russian players from that era (Slava Fetisov, Boris Mikhailov, Vladislav Tretiak, etc.) you can tell how much the loss still hurts. These guys trained 11 months a year, year after year, to become a robotic, unstoppable machine on ice, to never, ever lose. And for many years they didn’t lose, embarrassing everyone they played.

They were a machine, but they had zero fun, which is why watching the Americans play with such joy and freedom at Lake Placid was jarring to them.

The best parts of the movie come when stars like Tretiak (the goalie who was inexplicably pulled after one period in the Miracle on Ice game) talk about the final moments of the shocking Lake Placid loss, and when Mikhailov, the best and most heartfelt interview subject, reflects on what life was like when they got back to Moscow.

Fetisov, who later became a trailblazer by leaving the Soviet team and joining the NHL, is the emotional center of the film, literally going back to Lake Placid 30 years later to try to recapture memories of the loss.

It’s funny, there suddenly are two new movies from the Soviet hockey perspective of Lake Placid; a documentary called “Red Army” has just been released, too.

I haven’t seen that one, but “Of Miracles and Men” is well worth seeing, showing us that the Russian players were far from the “Evil Empire” we have in our popular imagination.

“Of Miracles and Men” will air again on ESPN2 tonight (Monday) at 11:30 p.m., and Saturday morning at 8. It’s well worth going out of your way to see.

Much like “The Americans” does, “Of Miracles and Men” has me sympathizing with Russia during the Cold War, not an easy task.

 

**Next up, I’ve never been a big Gatorade fan, but I am a fan, as you know, of awesome, iconic commercials that you remember decades later.

The “Be Like Mike” ad certainly fits the bill; for their 50th anniversary Gatorade has “digitally re-mastered” the spot that made Michael Jordan even more famous than he already was.

It’s OK, you’re now going to be humming “Sometimes I dream …” for the rest of the day like I am.

polishcoffins.soccer

**Finally today, this story is a couple weeks old but it’s so obscure that I feel confident you will not have seen it. It’s possibly the greatest and most clever fan protest I’ve ever seen. (I first heard about it on NPR’s “Only a Game.”)

A first-division Polish soccer team named Zawisza Bydgoszcz is having a rough season; they’re in last place and at one stretch lost 10 consecutive matches.

Their fans were pissed, but they didn’t just put bags over their heads or write angry letters to the local newspaper.

No, they did something so much better: After a recent loss they broke into the team’s home stadium and left 15 wooden coffins on the field. Each coffin featured the intials of one of the team’s players (drawn, of course, onto genitals stenciled into the wood) and the team’s owner.

I mean … American fans would never be this awesome. Bravo, Polish fans, bravo.

Herman Cain, seriously? A note on spelling and push cart vendors. And a beautiful meditation on time

This is one of those small, simple stories that I love reading, because they remind me to keep my priorities exactly where they need to be.
A blogger I had never heard of named Chris Brogan has written a beautiful little piece about time, and how we all are losing it, every second, that we’re on this earth. All the little things that we allow to distract us from the important stuff; that’s what he’s talking about.
It won’t take you long to read it, and hopefully it’ll make you stop and think for just a minute.

**OK, I just need to get this off my chest.
Was walking in New York City Thursday and passed a larger than usual food pushcart. The guy had a nice little setup on the corner of W.40th Street and 8th Avenue, and he even had an electronic message board displaying his wares across the top of the cart.

Nice touch, right? So I watch the scrolling message advertising falafels, hot dogs, etc., and then I see the word “Gaterode.”

Seriously? This guy goes through all the trouble to get an electronic message board for his little business, and he misspells 25 percent of the letters in the word Gatorade.
I just wanted to run over to him and shake him and say “SIR? How do you expect people to shop at your establishment when you can’t even spell the names of what you are selling correctly!?!?”
But I didn’t.  I just kept walking, because we live in a civilized society.

**So Herman Cain, a man whose claim to fame previously was being the CEO of a pizza chain (Godfathers) that no one has ever heard of, is now leading in some polls for the GOP presidential nominee.

And as delighted as I’d be to see two African-Americans running against each other for President in these United States, I’d just like to remind a few of you who haven’t been paying attention as to some of the “thoughts and positions” of Mr. Cain:

—  He has vowed not to ever appoint any Muslims in his administration.
— Said he doesn’t feel the current minimum wage law “is necessary.”
—  Believes Iraq should pay the U.S. back for invading their country.
— Believes that America has the right to ban mosques.
— Would put the CEO of Shell Oil in charge of the EPA.

I believe the words you are now looking for are, “Next?”
Seriously, Herman Cain is beyond a joke. And yet what does that say about the rest of this GOP field, that this clown is being taken seriously?
It says I don’t need to donate any money to Barack Obama this cycle. I’ll save my coins for the candidates who really need it.