HeWhen we heard that Herb Brook, who coached the 1980 Olympic hockey team
to immortality had
died in an auto accident Monday, it really affected us.
Coincidentally, HBO ran their superb documentary on that team the very day he
died. If you haven't seen it, you should make an effort to watch it, tape
it, or TIVO it. Whatever, it's worth it. That guy planned the
whole thing from way out. He knew the Russians, who were thought
unbeatable, were not taking anyone seriously, and he went to extraordinary
lengths to make sure that his team was prepared. It's probably the
greatest coaching performance in any sport, ever. Maybe you can think of
something to equal it, but we can't. The only thing that we can think of
that's even close is the team that the movies Hoosiers was based on. Texas
Western? Nah. Joe Willy's Jets? Nah. Duke-Vegas?
State-Houston? Miami-Oklahoma? Villanova over Georgetown? Maybe, but they
had already played them three times that year. Chaminade? Okay, maybe Chaminade.
But beyond just the Olympics, the Miracle On Ice had a profound impact on a
dispirited nation. It was a huge celebration. In the documentary,
one of the Iranian hostages talked about how amazing it was to see that when he
was released, that of all the things he missed, it had the biggest impact.
you start looking at the American love of underdogs, the Rocky syndrome if you
will, it just has never been any better than that hockey team. What an
amazing performance. What coaching genius. What a perfect melding of
team and coach. We don't feel an obligation to thank many people in the
sports world, but from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Coach Brooks.
Watching your teams was a highlight of our sports-loving lives. Maybe
something better will happen someday, but we can't even begin to imagine what it
could be. But we know better than to say it's impossible: that's
what you taught us. God Bless.