“Do You Believe In Miracles?”

As I read USA Today yesterday (huh?) I was reminded of the most improbable sporting upset of our time and quite possibly all time – “Do you believe in miracles?” sports announcer Al Michaels asked 26 years ago from the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Mike Eruzione was the captain of the U.S. Hockey Team, and scored the winning goal to beat the Soviet team. The story was retold in one of my top 5 favorite films, the 2004 movie Miracle that was released months after the team’s coach, Herb Brooks, died in an auto accident. Memories will no doubt return today (Tuesday) when the U.S. men play Russia in Torino.

Mike Eruzione offered the following thoughts about miracles:

* Miracles are one part luck, nine parts hard work.
* If hard work fails, it’s not wasted. Take what you learned and apply it elsewhere.
* Faith creates miracles.
* Life turns out miraculous even without a miracle.

I do not know Mike’s religious convictions but as I read his thoughts, the parallel between our faith journey and that of the 1980 Olympic hockey team was striking. Stay with me here because this may be a stretch, but one of the heros of this miracle team was Jim Craig. Some call him the backbone of the 1980 United States’ “Miracle on Ice” Olympic team. His 39 saves as goaltender led the U.S. team to a shocking 4-3 upset victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union.

39 shots! I wonder if he felt like Jesus did in Matthew 22 when faced with a barrage of trick questions from the Russians..errr, I mean Pharisees. The questions came from every angle, each one carefully crafted with one single intention, to defeat THE miracle worker. And even though Craig allowed 3 goals that monumental night, he saved 39 from going in and causing defeat.

As the game ended, Jim could have strutted and mouthed off to anyone within earshot, but he didn’t.
One of the most memorable television shots of the 1980 Olympics was the sight of Craig, wrapped in the American flag, looking into the stands at the Olympic hockey rink and asking, “Where’s my father?” I just wonder if Jesus did the same after the Pharasees tucked their tail and skated back home.

“Eleven seconds, you got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now…Morrow up to Silk…five seconds left in the game! Do you believe in miracles? YES!!! Unbelievable!”

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