Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not Quite The Real Thing

The Winter Olympics continue to thunder on from Sochi, Russia - a winter paradise in which the temperatures have been so extraordinary that cross-country skiers competed while wearing short-sleeve shirts.  Truth be told, while working from home last Thursday (the WL-observed Presidents' Day) and waiting for the rate at which the snow was falling to slow enough to enable me to venture outside and start shoveling, which did not occur until after 12:00 noon, it was quite a nice distraction to see people looking as if they were appearing in winter sports without freezing their asses off.

Saturday morning I watched the U.S Olympic Hockey team's shootout win over the Russians.  It was certainly dramatic.   It was certainly entertaining.  That being said, when I read writers in various places on-line on Saturday comparing this win to the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" I laughed out loud.  Ever since the NHL started sending its players to the Olympics, the Olympic hockey tournament has turned into an exhibition tournament of the highest order.  The play is excellent to be sure.  But a team of American NHL All-Stars besting a team of Russian NHL All-Stars is not - and shall never be - the equal of a team of American college kids besting the Soviet Red Army team (a/k/a the best hockey team in the world).

1980 Miracle On Ice - US v USSR
Lake Placid, N.Y.

Do not misunderstand.  I rooted hard for the American team.  I marveled at the cool that T.J. Oshie exhibited in the shootout when his name was the only one called for the final five rounds and at the cool that Jonathan Quick exhibited as well in the American goal.  I cheered aloud when Oshie's winner found the back of the Russian net in Round Eight. 

Yet never - not even for one minute - did I mistakenly equate what I watched Saturday morning with what I had watched on a cold Friday night in February a lifetime ago.  How about we stop trying to sell what we are watching now as something "better" than what came before? 

High-Def technology certainly makes the picture on my television screen sharper and crisper than it was thirty-four years ago.  But while the picture is clearer now than it was then, it is still no substitute for the clarity of a memory.   

1980 US Olympic Hockey
Gold Medal Ceremony

Never has been.  Never will be.



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