Those of you who know me know that I think too much. And today my thoughts have meandered to wonder whatever became of the 1980 USSR Olympic hockey team. Not the US team that gave us the Miracle On Ice, but the team that lost. It is an interesting question and one that we tend to ignore.
But the question is a fascinating one and one that we can all relate to because as fans we have likely been on both sides. If you are like me and a lover of all things underdog then you have probably been on the bitter side much more than the sweet. But even those who cheer for the front runner likely have had at least a taste of super sports disappointment.
Perhaps the genesis of the thought was from the other night. I went to bed with the Dodgers up 3-1 in the 8th and assumed I would wake up to find a preview of an LA/St. Louis NLCS. I was wrong. Kershaw had faltered. Howie Kendrick had homered. And the Bryce Harper-less Nats were advancing over the NL’s clearly best team.
And my first thought was about the handful of friends I have who are die hard Dodgers fans. Because having been a Pirate fan my whole life I know the pain of a defeat like that and although it is still just a game in the big picture, I don’t wish it on anyone.
So again I wonder, what became of the 1980 USSR hockey team? Or so many of their peers who have been the Washington Generals to somebody’s Harlem Globetrotters? In sport someone has to win, and somebody has to lose.
I tried to research some but found myself wandering through other big moments on YouTube. I found Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run off Dennis Eckersley. I watched the reaction of the Dodgers fans and Gibson and Tommy Lasorda, but then also caught a glimpse of Eck rolling his eyes to the heavens. He had not given up a home run since late August…
As a Cats fan I have lived both sides. One of my favorite moments was the night Stevie Johnson got loose. But somewhere that night a Cardinals secondary member likely sat in dejection. Conversely, it occurs to me as UK honors Jared Lorenzen this weekend how difficult it was to swallow the LSU TD pass that negated a sure victory for UK all those years ago. Obviously UK football is littered with such moments.
But the basketball Cats even in its place as the greatest college hoops program in history has suffered similarly. I won’t mention particular instances, but the point remains.
To play or to coach or to be a fan is to put your heart on the line. It is a risk. Sometimes the rewards are massive. The joy tremendous. But other times it is painful and utterly dejecting.
And yet the celebratory moments must significantly outweigh the devastating ones. Because for most of us, we keep coming back…