If you were much bigger than a half pint in 1980, you likely remember how Team USA beat the Soviet Union during the Olympics in hockey that year, just before then-President Jimmy Carter was replaced. Move forward 44 years, and another US hockey team just won another international hockey prize – and just before another presidential election that could reshape the nation.
If you don’t remember the epic 1980 hockey or, like me, weren’t even around to see it, let’s go back for a minute.
Team USA, at the time, was not seen as much more than capable of playing. But certainly not winning and certainly not beating the nearly professional Soviet Union team who had, for the most part, been playing together for years. In contrast, the American team was made up of mostly college students or recent graduates who had only played together for a few months.
So it was no surprise that when the two teams played each other in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden less than two weeks before they would face off in the Olympics, the Soviets officially trounced Team USA, 10 to 3.
But, for whatever reason, this underdog team was able to reverse that result when they played for a medal in Lake Placid, New York, beating the Soviets 4 to 3. That same team later went on to win the gold by beating Finland.
What else should be made known at the time is that when Team USA won, patriotism wasn’t really popular to be such. But the team in its entirety began chanting “USA, USA” at the top of their lungs after singing the national anthem, and it seemed the whole country joined in, electrifying the nation.
You see, like now, America was being led by a very unpopular Democratic president, Jimmy Carter. In February 1980, when this famous game took place, Carter had a measly approval rating of 36 percent.
Biden currently has a similar one, 39 percent.
Then, like now, the country was also experiencing record inflation rates, the likes of which hadn’t been seen until Biden’s presidency.
It seemed everywhere you looked, people were down on their luck. For one of the first times in history, it appeared the American dream was dying. People didn’t look to the future with hope and aspirations anymore.
And even Carter had to admit as much during his infamous “malaise” or “A Crisis of Confidence” speech in July 1979.
But then came along a hockey team that invigorated the nation. Then, a 1980 presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan, carried it to the finish line, restoring both the economy and the American dream.
Now, the Olympics didn’t just occur. However, it’s worth noting that an underdog US team just won another international hockey championship. And it has once again ignited a patriotic movement in a time that many have compared to 1980.
The US national junior hockey team just beat hockey powerhouse Sweden 6 to 2 for the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Hockey Championship.
As in 1980, patriotism doesn’t seem all that popular, with an economy in the dumps, an embarrassment of a president, and a world image that lessons every day.
And yet, this group of young men just burst out in song, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for all the world to see after their victory.
Who says today’s kids? Don’t love our country. Wow what a great display of pride. Well done boys. https://t.co/CvZtKSJWrv
— MIKE ERUZIONE (@MERUZIONE) January 6, 2024
To be sure, it seems history is repeating itself.
Could it be that, just like 1980, 2024 will be a year of renewed hope and life for the American people? Could it be that we are able to shed off the spirit of despair and dread, as well as a president who only seems to hold us down?
What do you think?
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 5, 2024