Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do You Believe In Deja Vu?

It was only an opening round game. It had no bearing on anything except a bye in the next round. Yet tonight's hockey game was so much more than a hockey game for both sides at play. For Canada, it was a statement game. The Canadians wanted to dominate on their home ice, secure the bye in the next round and build their confidence after a nail biter against ze Swees. For the United States, our hockey team once again appears as if it is a barometer for our national confidence. If I may put on my history major cap for a moment, it seems that 30 years after the Miracle on Ice, the United States could use another miracle to help bring our nation out of this funk that it is in.

The year was 1980. Our nation was still healing from the scars of the Vietnam War, and in the midst of the Cold War (before it was ended by Rocky). Day to day, Americans had to deal with the problems of inflation, recession and an oil crisis. Because of all of this, and the Iran hostage crisis, our nation's prominence and prestige were knocked down a peg in the eyes of the rest of the world. We were indeed suffering a crisis of confidence. Then as if a national panacea, the United States hockey team came out of nowhere to win gold in Lake Placid. Do the problems facing our great country sound familiar?

30 years later, we are in the middle of two wars, we are digging our way out of one of the biggest economic collapses ever, we are still licking our wounds form 9/11 and joblessness seems to rise as quickly as the price of oil. It's like 1980 all over again. Is it too cheesy to say that a hockey team could lift us out of this again? Maybe. But why do you think everybody cared so much about that game tonight?

Americans need something to lift our spirits. For everyone out there who can't find a job, has seen their fortune disintegrate in the markets, can't afford to fill their car with gas, or has a family member fighting overseas, national pride is something tangible that they can look to for hope. I'm not saying that the United States team is gonna do it, because I believe in curses, but the stage is certainly set for another epic underdog story. I can almost hear it now. USA! USA! USA!


  1. I wouldn't really call Team USA an underdog, nearly all their players are in the NHL. Although two players are from the reowned Thayer Academy (Jim Craig!), I think a real underdog story would be if some team like Latvia beat the US/Canada in the gold medal game.

  2. Not as much as they were in 1980, but I would still argue that USA is an underdog when compared to the likes of Russia, Sweden and Canada. Moreover, due to the youth movement, many of these guys have never competed in an Olympic games before, similar to the 1980 team.

  3. I'd also argue that our oil predicament is nowhere near late-70s levels. A little back of the envelope math here, but I belive oil closed at around $77 per barrel on Friday, well short of the $150-ish level (inflation adjusted of course) at the peak of the 70's gas crisis. You also missed one obvious connection. In 1980, the US was governed by a fluke big-eared president with no experience, who went on to stay in office only one term. Sound like any current president to you?

  4. You guys are nitpicking the fuck out of my neat little comparison

  5. its beside the point. if nbc keeps preempting coverage for ICE DANCING no one will even notice the hockey team. motherfuckers