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Hockey! The 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team

1714 words - 7 pages

To the average individual, the word “miracle” has many meanings. However, to the avid hockey fan, the word “Miracle” is vernacular that will be forever engrained in their hearts and history books. While the term itself is broad, miracles turn doubters into believers. This was exactly the case during the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team shocked the world. In 1980, the U.S. men’s hockey team, consisting of college players and hopeful pros, won Olympic gold. No other Olympic performance was so uniting and inspiring to our nation. Upon scoring the game-winner and clinching the gold medal, Eruzione's goal triggered a spontaneous national celebration of amazing proportions. Overcome with ...view middle of the document...

Brooks, who had previously coached at the University of Minnesota, sought to win at all costs. The team eventually defeated the Soviets and won gold by defeating Finland in the following game.
Miracle embodied the idea of conflict theory. Conflict theory in sports consists of three main tenets that define this theory: generates alienation and is a means of social control; sports is a political tool; and sports is confrontational. The United States was waging a Cold War against the Soviets and trying to stop the encroachment of communism. To this end, The United States was portrayed as a united nation that valued freedom and the Capitalist model. The American identity was cast as focused on democracy and freedom. However, by contrast, the Soviet identity portrayed in Miracle emphasized the promotion of its political doctrine to advocate the socialist perspective on the world. As the “enemy,” it was portrayed as the personification of evil. Ultimately, the magnitude of a hockey game set the tone for decades to come and went down as one of the greatest moments in sporting history. While many questioned how a victory on the ice rink could translate into a victory in the political spectrum, the soft power exhibited through our win accomplished more than most politicians could achieve. Moreover, the game itself was a microcosm of the Cold War. It proved that Communist ideals were inferior to American capitalistic beliefs and determinations. The U.S. defeat of the Soviets signaled the downfall of “the evil empire” and eradicated any notion of Soviet superiority.
The movie miracle itself portrays a handful of values that our instrumental in our culture. While the movie focuses primarily on their coach, Herb Brooks, it is for good reason. Herb Brooks embodied many values that our society sought, especially in the time of crisis following the rough 1970’s. The most important goal in “Miracle” was to aspire to be the best you can be. When Coach Brooks was initially recruited, the members of the U.S. Hockey Committee were most interested in making sure the U.S. did not embarrass themselves at the Olympics. Moreover, despite coaching a team of undisciplined and inexperienced amateurs against the professional’s on the Communists team, Brooks had lofty goals: he wanted to defeat the Russians and win gold. When one member told Coach Brooks that it was a “pretty loft goal,” Herb responded “well that’s why I want to pursue it.” As Elvis Mitchell from the New York Times says about Herb Brooks, “Taking a group of young, unproven players allows him to beat them down by constant pressure into the unit he wants-he says they may not be the best team, but they're the right one.” (Mitchell 1) Frankly, Coach Brooks was not expected to win.
Miracle portrays Coach Brooks as idealistic. Through his coaching and leadership style, Brooks’ ideals were a microcosm of our Capitalist society. Without Coach Brooks, this team would have not accomplished what it did. To this end,...

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