I recently caught the movie “Miracle” on TV the other day. “Miracle” is about the U.S hockey team that, against all odds, defeated the Soviets at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. But the movie is about more than a hockey game.
The year was 1980. Americans had been taken hostage in Iran, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. And the U.S. hockey team, average age 21, legally adults but really baby-faced boys, bested the unbeaten Soviet team, the same team that had zambonied them all over the Madison Square Garden ice less than two weeks before.
Kurt Russell plays Coach Herb Brooks. Before the big game, he tells the team, “Great moments are born of great opportunities…You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time.”
I don’t even like hockey and yet I was glued to the screen, at points during the big U.S.-Soviet game even getting up from my chair to stand right in front of the TV, to experience the sights, sounds, and action more closely. And when the clock timed out, and the American team won — against all and every odd — I felt my throat tickle and skin tingle.
Apart from the politics, apart from the patriotism, why do stories like “Miracle” — the underdog surmounting all odds to conquer the huge ogre — stir us so? The underdog prevailing touches our souls because it reminds us of a deep, dark truth — We Are Great.
We are born with inherent greatness, each and every one of us. But many of us forget our greatness as we deal with the daily chores and challenges of life — picking up the kids from school, going grocery shopping, paying the bills, mowing the lawn. Seeing greatness in others reminds us of our own. The miracle is the mirror of others that shows us our greatness. But it is no miracle. It is us.