Forty Years Ago Today

wiffleballhero

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Mar 28, 2009
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In the simulacrum
My memory is of it being a pretty dark, cold winter day in New Hampshire and we struggled to get good reception on Manchester's channel 9, but we most definitely were huddled around the TV for this one:

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When I've rewatched the game as an adult, it still is astonishing that the US won the game.

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Edit: I'm fond of this photo too.
 

bankshot1

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Feb 12, 2003
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My memory (hazy) was shoveling out my folks house and wanting to get done ASAP so I could watch the game (which IIRC I already knew the outcome) on a delayed tape basis.
 

Norm Siebern

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May 12, 2003
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I was a freshman at BU, having just transferred from UMass, I just got stuck in any dorm where there was available space. That meant one of the jock dorms overlooking Nickerson Field even though I was decidedly not a jock. So I watched the game in a suite along with some of the hockey players, or people associated with the BU hockey team, who of course would have been teammates of Craig, Silk, O 'Callaghan and Eurizione. Most likely some of them already knew what had happened (remember, the game had just finished after a 5:00 start and was broadcast on tape delay at 8:00), but I don't recall anyone letting the cat out of the bag. What an amazing experience.

Even after the most ridiculous run of sporting success that I have viewed as a fan of Boston sports, this one game is still the single greatest sporting event I have ever seen. Beats them all.
 

fiskful of dollars

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1980. We had just moved from Maine to Virginia Beach. I was 13. No snow, no ice (more on that later), no HOCKEY. My brother and I were newly transplanted into a neighborhood where it was football, baseball, basketball or "sissy sports". As sons of Irish Catholic immigrants we played rugby and street hockey - just the 2 of us - in full view of bewildered Baptist onlookers.

As the 1980 Olympic hockey team began to develop into a national story, our street hockey games began to attract more players...nobody had a stick so we lent them ours. We had a "real" goal and a PVC one we made in the garage. In school, girls would ask me questions about hockey. Explaining icing to Denise Inman at lunch was one of the sublime moments of my life.

That afternoon we were so hyped for the USSR-USA game. Our parents knew better, they smiled at our youthful (but ultimately misguided) optimism. We dropped the (skinned tennis ball) puck around 430p. We had 10-12 players playing on pavement - about half of the kids had never played hockey before. Snow and ice are a rarity in coastal southern Virginia. That afternoon in the gloaming we had a sleety rain, what the news programs now call a "wintry mix". The road felt just like real ice. We played until it was too dark to see. Our mothers called us home into dinner and we watched the greatest sports story unfold into our living rooms and our lives that night.

NS said it perfectly:
"Beats them all".
 

LogansDad

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Nov 15, 2006
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I was 6 months old, so I don't have any good stories to tell about it, but just the thought of it gives me chills anyway.
 

wiffleballhero

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Mar 28, 2009
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In the simulacrum
To add on:

I was seven. My brother and I absolutely did not know they were going to win, nor did my dad. And we were way, way into those Olympics having watched every minute of all the hockey ABC put on. I remember thinking -- everyone was thinking -- that the Soviets were just so good and that they looked like a perfectly synchronized machine out there: like there was 'regular' hockey of frenetic banging around, and then there was the amazingly orchestrated flow of beautiful passes and cuts that they performed.

It is well worth rewatching the whole thing (youtube). I promise you, there will be points where you think you must be remembering it wrong because there is no way the Soviets are going to lose it.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I was a freshman at BU, having just transferred from UMass, I just got stuck in any dorm where there was available space. That meant one of the jock dorms overlooking Nickerson Field even though I was decidedly not a jock. So I watched the game in a suite along with some of the hockey players, or people associated with the BU hockey team, who of course would have been teammates of Craig, Silk, O 'Callaghan and Eurizione. Most likely some of them already knew what had happened (remember, the game had just finished after a 5:00 start and was broadcast on tape delay at 8:00), but I don't recall anyone letting the cat out of the bag. What an amazing experience.
I was a freshman at Harvard, and similarly was watching in a roomful of hockey players whom I didn't know all that well at the time. One guy knew the outcome and, remarkably, kept it to himself. Not much like a Harvard guy not to show off how much he knows, about everything. Every time I've seen him since, I've thanked him.

Great day-drinking day, which led to a night-drinking night. Will never forget it.
 

pedro1918

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Mar 5, 2004
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I was 11. I had heard they had won, but I wasn't sure that information was legit. As the first period was coming to an end, I was positive it wasn't legit because I had been told by this person that the score was tied at 2 at the end of of the first period and clearly the Soviets were headed into the break up 2-1.

Holy shit Johnson!!
 

rlsb

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Aug 2, 2010
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The longest last 10 minutes of the third period of any hockey game that I have ever experienced.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
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Jul 13, 2005
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And 40 years ago today was the culmination of the now oft-overlooked arguably greatest individual feats in sports history...

Eric Heiden slept late and barely won the first and possibly most important race of his day - that being the race to the starting line. He then overcame deviation from his normal warm-up routine and set a world record in the 10,000m in shitty weather, slow ice at a near sea-level track.

Any tale of the 1980 hockey team should at least bear mention of what this guy did. Sure, the story of a bunch of underdogs prevailing over an overwhelming favorite makes for greater drama than, well, an overwhelming favorite actually living up to every ounce of hype thrust upon Him.

It is incredibly difficult to skate five straight speed skating races and not have SOMETHING go a bit sideways, and Heiden didn’t do that...he actually threw at least one mediocre race in there, but was just SO much better that he was able to get away with it.

Others may have wound up winning MORE gold medals - but I think of it this way; How many golds did Michael Phelps win at his best Olympics? 8...How many gold medals did Heiden win in Lake Placid? ALL OF THEM.

Anyway, back to beating Finland...
 

Bowhemian

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Nov 10, 2015
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I was 14. Dad picked us up from roller skating at Roller Palace in Beverly, and the game had just ended. Listened to someone on the radio talk about it. All I knew was the guy on the radio, as well as my father, were quite excited
 

loshjott

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Dec 30, 2004
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I was also 14, on a family ski trip to Okemo in VT. We were staying in a B&B, and my parents were not sports fans so I went down to the communal TV room on my own and of course it was filled with other guests watching. Thankfully nobody seemed to know the result and it felt like watching live to me. Two days later the gold medal game was aired live and I left the slopes to watch it in the bar/lodge at Okemo. It was jam packed and they allowed a 14 yr old in to watch!
 

cornwalls@6

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Apr 23, 2010
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40 years of good will.

Down the tubes.
Doesn’t ruin the memory for me, but really tone deaf, and really bad judgement on their part. On stage at a campaign rally, wearing campaign gear, absolutely has the effect of choosing sides, whether intentional or not. I’ve read some things online defending them by comparing it to a White House ceremony in their honor. Not remotely the same thing.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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I was a freshman at BU, having just transferred from UMass, I just got stuck in any dorm where there was available space. That meant one of the jock dorms overlooking Nickerson Field even though I was decidedly not a jock. So I watched the game in a suite along with some of the hockey players, or people associated with the BU hockey team, who of course would have been teammates of Craig, Silk, O 'Callaghan and Eurizione. Most likely some of them already knew what had happened (remember, the game had just finished after a 5:00 start and was broadcast on tape delay at 8:00), but I don't recall anyone letting the cat out of the bag. What an amazing experience.
I, too was a freshman at BU. I was friends with several sophomores who lived in one of those West Campus dorms the year before (but not in 79-80). One was quick to point out that Jim Craig had passed out drunk and pissed in a guy's bed down the hall the year before.
 
I've done a lot of cool things already as a sports commentator, and I hope there will be many more to come, but getting to call two hockey games on radio from inside the 1980 Olympic Arena in Lake Placid - semifinals and 3rd place game at the 1998 ECAC conference tournament - will always be right up there near the top. I do have vague memories of watching the USA vs. USSR game live as a six-year-old, but to be there almost literally in the spot where Al Michaels believed in miracles, doing the same thing as he did...goosebump city.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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And... sixty years ago TODAY was the 1960 US Hockey Gold Medal victory in Squaw Valley... the first and forgotten miracle. Great story if you're not familiar with it here:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdCPJ5LGbGw&fbclid=IwAR2WCbQwJPphDoTHIO80Wa19_3f3btt4zpFal-E5s2b42NcZc0Vih64H5nE
Bill Cleary, Harvard star and later coach and one of the awesomest guys you'll ever know, was to scorer on that team, and his brother Bob was the #4 scorer. #2 and #3 were brothers Roger and Bill Christian.

The captain of the favored Canadian team in 1960 was Harry Sinden.