It Was a Miracle!
I grew up playing hockey in northern Minnesota. I wasn’t great, but I loved the game and dreamed about playing it at a very high level. These dreams were further inspired by the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal hockey team. I’ll forever remember sitting in my high school locker room listening to the game on the radio. I’m proud and excited to remember crying when the game ended with the Americans ahead. A win that’ll go down as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The victory over the Russians is now and forever chronicled in the documentary, “Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team.” I’m certain the word “miracle” accurately describes what I felt at that time.
How could it be anything less than a miracle? These American kids played the same Russian players that had just beaten up on the best professional players in the world, the National Hockey League. These supposed Russian amateurs then moved on to the Olympics and played against the American college kids. I can’t believe there were so many people giving the Americans a chance. Those following the team at the time knew we really didn’t need to worry about beating the Russians because we would have enough trouble just getting through the rest of our play in pool.
This documentary does a great job of showcasing Coach Brooks’ leadership genius. He believed that with the right team building, his group was capable of beating the Russians. The manner that he went about building this special team is amazing to say the least.
- Coach Brooks began with selecting a group of players that each fit a specific role.
- Because of this, some of the bigger amateur names of the time didn’t make the team.
- He intentionally built a team consisting of bitter college rivals.
- He used conditioning to bring the team together.
- The players completed the most demanding conditioning program any team has ever been through.
- He built a team based on a style of play these kids hadn’t played before.
- He incorporated the faster, more creative European playing style into their games.
None of this could’ve been possible without Coach Brooks’ ability to get the group to come together as a team.
“Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team” well documents Coach Brooks’ leadership strategies for this team. If you’re looking for a lesson in team building and leadership strategies that can create possibilities under the bleakest of situations, I highly recommend this documentary. I find myself still getting a tear in my eye when I re-watch it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR