One can’t help thinking of the USA’s “Miracle on Ice” win over the Soviet Union in 1980 when watching the U.S. national junior hockey team’s reaction during their gold medal ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday.
Team USA defeated hockey powerhouse Sweden 6-2 to take the top prize in the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation world junior hockey championship.
Video of the boys belting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” went viral over the weekend.
It got the attention of the 1980 USA hockey team captain Mike Eruzione who posted on X, “Who says today’s kids don’t love our country? Wow what a great display of pride. Well done boys.”
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
I was in middle school in February 1980, when the U.S. beat the Soviets in the Winter Olympics before going on to win the gold medal. It seemed like the whole country was electified by the game, which took place in Lake Placid, New York.
Our team was made up of young men, mostly college students or freshly minted graduates, while the Soviets fielded what was, in effect, a professional hockey team, many of whom had played together a long time.
In an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a little less than two weeks before they would face off in Lake Placid, the Soviets trounced the Americans 10-3.
But at the Olympics, it was a different story.
In fact, it was Eruzione who scored the winning goal in the middle of the third period putting the Americans up 4-3.
The U.S. would go on to defeat Finland to secure the gold.
Eruzione proudly sang the national anthem as he stood atop the winner’s stand. The rest of the team sang it too.
When the song ended, he waved the rest of the team to join him on the platform, as the crowd in attendance launched into chants of “USA, USA, USA!”
Americans were hungry for patriotism.
Then, like now, it had fallen out of fashion it felt like in some large swaths of the population, following the loss in the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the then-ongoing Iran hostage crisis.
Like the present, the country was being led by a very unpopular Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.
Carter’s job approval rating was 36 percent in February 1980.
President Joe Biden’s average approval rating now is just shy of 39 percent.
In July 1979, Carter delivered his “malaise” speech — formally titled “A Crisis of Confidence” — from the Oval Office, saying, “The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us.”
“For the first time in the history of our country, a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years,” he added.
“As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning,” Carter said.
That all sounds a lot like today with Biden complaining “MAGA extremists” want to destroy democracy.
“Someone once said that the difference between an American and any other kind of person is that an American lives in anticipation of the future because he knows it’ll be a great place. Other people fear the future as just a repetition of past failures,” Reagan said.
To those who said the American dream was over, the Republican responded, “I don’t believe that. And I don’t believe you do, either. That’s why I’m seeking the presidency. I cannot and will not stand by and see this great country destroy itself.”
Reagan won in a landslide, 44 states to 6.
Maybe history is repeating itself with the junior U.S. hockey team’s patriotic display as a feeling waiting to burst out.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 5, 2024
Americans are hungry to see their country become great again, and there happens to be a Republican candidate in 2024 who aims to do just that.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.