“Great moments are born from great opportunity”
“You can’t be common; the common man goes nowhere. You have to be uncommon.”
“Write your own book instead of reading someone else’s book about success.”
“We walked up to the tiger, looked him straight in his eye and spat in it.”
These are some original expressions by Herb Paul BrooksJr., which were nicknamed that according to players on his 1980 United States Olympic hockey team.
During the 70s, the United States was enduring what many dubs as one of its gloomiest decades.
The Watergate scandal, the oil crisis, American hostages, nuclear meltdown, these are just some of the biggest crises that plagued that country within that decade.
On top of all that, the cold war was very much alive.
In his famous “A crisis of confidence” speech, President Carter said that for the first time in US history, citizens felt that the next five years, would be worse than the previous ones.
And just to add salt to injury, the USSR teams were defeating the Americans at every possible sporting venue, even Basketball.
Over in hockey, no US team had beaten the soviets in twenty years.
The Soviet Olympic hockey team had been dominating the world hockey scene for twenty years winning every gold medal between 1960 and 1980.
In comes Herb Brooks.
Through his unconventional methods, psychological mind games and over-the-top rigorous fitness regime, Brooks wills his team made up of college students to take on the Soviet veterans.
In the 1980 Winter Olympic games, The US team defeats every seeded country, beating the Soviets along the way to the much-coveted gold medal. In doing so, registering one of the most prominent underdog victories of all time in sports to this day.
In doing so, they were the beacon of hope an entire nation looked to for hope and were immortalized as legends.
So how did they come to achieve this great feat? Coach Herb.
You can watch the movie to see how it all happens, but where we want to take a deeper look today, is what happens during this achievement.
The game against the Soviets was not the final but it posed the greatest challenge to the Americans. Like any dominant team, the USSR played with confidence and poise, like true champions who know they’re gonna win as soon as they step onto the pitch.
And yet, the US team overcame them in a huge upset.
Cue to the end of that game. An entire nation is celebrating madly, the fans at Lake Placid are going mad, the players and the press are in euphoria.
Coach Herb first goes to his wife, silently acknowledging her sacrifices and hard work that helped him get to this point. Then he looks in disbelief. He charges into the empty tunnel away from the crowds.
Pacing back and forth, he finally squats down by the wall with his head in his hands, and cries.
He wasn’t looking for the adulation. He wasn’t looking for the glory, or the fame.
He had a goal in mind that everyone told him would be impossible to reach, and he did.
He had worked his whole life, dreaming of this moment, and he got it.
When you set your sights on a goal, it can often be incredibly overwhelming when you actually reach it especially if you were told it’s too difficult to achieve.
When it’s your dream, your own and not what someone else envisioned for you, it makes all the hard work and sacrifice worth it.
You don’t need the affirmation of others in that moment, you don’t need the applause or the recognition. Coach Herb only looked to his wife, and then into himself. Those were the only places he found to hold meaning in that moment.
It’s not about what others tell you to achieve or expect you to accomplish.
It’s not about what people say about you if you fail or succeed.
It’s about you. Your dream. What it means to find meaning in what you do.
To follow your vision, your wildest dreams.
To set that goal, plan and work hard and make those sacrifices. And don’t forget to acknowledge those who help you along the way.
Editor, H. (2009, November 16). Jimmy Carter speaks about a national “crisis in confidence”. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jimmy-carter-speaks-about-a-national-crisis-in-confidence