Soccer….Family Style

33 Years Later – Do You Believe in Miracles?
February 22, 2013, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Family Fun, Supporter Culture | Tags: , , ,

Several of my soccer friends are also hockey fans, and while I can’t appreciate how many Miracle players ended up playing for the Bruins (alas, too many of them are also from Boston, but I try not to hold it against them) it did get me thinking about this game and what it meant in my own world.

I was an eight year old kid the day the US played Russia in the Olympics in the game affectionately nicknamed “the Miracle on Ice.”  I was the daughter of a stay-at-home mom with a Masters in Education and a PhD research Chemist, so we had lots of talks about politics, science, and other geeky pursuits, and I was a bit of a tomboy. There were lots of boys my age on my block, and my Dad, not having any sons, taught me to play ball, fish, and to rotate tires. But my favorite thing to do with my Dad was watching sports. He would spend hours talking to me about various players, and intricacies of rules, it was probably the most concentrated extended attention I got from my Dad.

Of all the memories of all the games I ever watched with my Dad, the Miracle on Ice is the clearest. He had explained to me the political ramifications of the game, and as we watched it together, me laying on my belly, chin propped up on my fists. He became more and more agitated and excited as the game went on, and I was riveted. My father is a very intense man, but I’d never seen him so passionate about any game before in my life. And the more excited he became, the greater my need to understand what this game meant to him. This wasn’t “his” team, and it wasn’t even the medal match. My eight year old mind could barely fathom how this game could be so important to him, but as the minutes clicked off, I had to suspend reason and just enjoy watching history made, next to my Dad sitting on the edge of his big green recliner.

I’d like to think that February 22, 1980 was the first step on my path to becoming a soccer supporter. My father was so happy that day, and watching it was powerful enough to lock in a lifelong love of sports and national team. It allows me to cheer for the underdog, and gives me faith that one day, despite the US being decades if not centuries behind in love of soccer, one day, there will be the miracle on the pitch and my kids will watch me lose my mind over a World Cup final. It will probably never be the political laced sporting achievement that the Miracle on Ice was, but it will probably be enough outpouring of joy to make them sports fans for life.

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