18 February 2008

Skating the ice

I have to admit one of my deep dark secrets is...

I was once a HUGE hockey fan.

HUGE. Pathetically. I even dated the goalie for the rival high school. Over the weekend the movie, Miracle, was on TV. Brought it all back.

Back in the day, which would be sometime in the late 70s to mid-80s, I was obsessed with hockey. I knew all the teams and knew all the players. I hated the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins with a green and gold passion since both teams always managed to edge out the Minnesota Northstars.

Somewhere along the line, the North Stars headed to Dallas and professional hockey left Minnesota. By this time I wasn't even watching anymore.

But, even people who didn't like hockey remember the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Everyone has heard the story of how US college kids bested the unbeatable Reds. It was a great source of national pride.

The US embassy had been attacked in Iran by a group of militants and 52 diplomats were taken hostage. One of the militants has been identified as current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Russians had invaded Afghanistan, drawing the US into the conflict. Iran-Iraq war was still simmering. Saddam Hussein was in power and so was the Ayatollah Khomeini. Back home, Jimmy Carter was busy giving away the farm to the Russians, the economy was bottoming, there were gas shortages and all we had to relieve our distress was Jimmy's clown and beer-drinking brother, Billy.

The US was ripe for some good news, some national pride. Then the US Olympic hockey team scored big on our own home ice. Reagan became president. The hostages were freed. Finally, there was light on our domestic and international landscape.

Nearly 30 years later, it seems our country is looking for the same shot in the arm. Oddly, our problems are much the same. This time, however, we are the ones in Afghanistan. The Middle East remains a political quagmire and our old friend, Mahmoud, is still sticking it to us. Gas and some commodities are at an all time high and the housing market is in a tail-spin. Once again, the American president is making us cringe and the economy is tanking.

Even though our problems may be much the same, it doesn't appear that our knight in shining armor is about to arrive. History may not repeat itself with our next president.

The Republicans have no candidate who reflects what most of the party stands for. John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy, et. al., none of them lined up with me on the issues I considered most important. They have all shown an incredible lack of character and integrity, taking opportunistic positions, changing positions and maintaining indefensible positions. There is no Reagan on the horizon, not by a mile.

Obama and Hillary are even further apart from me on just about every issue. Obama appears to be basket that everyone is dumping their hopes into. And, like Caroline said, he does remind me of her father: charismatic, but short on delivering the goods. I think people are excited about him because there just has to be something we can take pride in. Anything. Don't look too closely, just get on board.

The Summer Olympics don't hold much hope either. In a word: China.

I should get back to watching hockey. Winning US Olympic hockey goalie, Jim Craig, is currently a motivational speaker. Maybe he's what we need right now to get us through the next election because there isn't much else to grab onto.

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
-Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle during the 1988 debates


gemoftheocean said...

You dated a rival HS team's star hockey player? :-D [I'm assuming you wouldn't have defected for a 3rd stringer!]

On reflection I can understand it. Nothing like a big studly testosterone laced guy with two missing front teeth!

Hockey players are cool. No girlie men there!

As re: Quayle --I still seeth at the memory he didn't shoot back:

"Hell, NO, I wasn't like Jack Kennedy -- I am faithful to my WIFE!"

swissmiss said...

Poor Dan Quayle. I don't think he was down with the nastiness of politics and was fileted because of it.

And, to make matters worse, the guy I was dating turned out to be the son of one of the guys my dad worked with and didn't happen to be too fond of. But, I went off to college and that was pretty much the end of things. He had all his teeth and no scars, but couldn't add two and two with any regularity. Sweet guy. He has two sons and has been married for nearly 20 years.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Sport and politics; funny how they just do go together. Bloomin' China. WHY were they given the Olympics in the first place!?!

Adrienne said...

Jeeez - Now I'm showing my age again. I was raised on the St. Paul Saints and the Minneapolis Millers. I remember playoff games where the St. Paul auditorium was so packed you couldn't move up and down the stairs (fire marshalls be damned!)

How about instead of an election we just strap skates on all those weenies and let 'em duke it out on the ice?

Mairin :o) said...

we heart huckabee.

I remember watching those Olympics and how thrilling the games were. You are right, the move Miracle really brings it back.

I watched the Stars but never heard of the Mpls Millers!

swissmiss said...

Sports and politics are too inter-twined lately.

Adrienne and mairin: I remember the Saints. A neighbor used to play for them. Each day when we walked to school, we'd pass the house and it was almost a religious experience. I was too young for the Millers.

I always disliked the fighting in hockey, found it very barbaric, but when it comes to political candidates fighting on the ice, I'd stand in line for tickets :)

gemoftheocean said...

WSNS: Yes, I too would love to know who got payola under the table for awarding the games to China.

Swiss: I was kinda guessing he couldn't add two and two and come up with the same answer twice in a row, but I'm also guessing he held every door open for you and was your slave.

Adrienne...ah, now THERE's a thought...put them on skates and let them duke it out.

Unlike Swiss, I have *always* enjoyed hockey fights. San Diego used to have a minor league franchise, the Gulls, so it wasn't a huge deal if your team lost, however they were pretty good. I remember one night where there were SO many fights there was one period were both teams had one or two players LESS on ice than they should have had, and BOTH penalty boxes were bursting with so many guys there wasn't enough room for them to sit down. I'm not talking re: pull a swtichblade fights....just the old "throw the gloves down" duke it out then try and pull the other guys shirt over his head. On that particular night, even the reserve goalie was in the penalty box.

I have to say I like the occasional baseball fight. Most of those guys don't know how to do it anymore. So it looks like 6 year olds rolling around on the ground. I can well remember one beanball fest we had with the atlanta braves. They had head hunted us one night...and the next night's pitcher ALSO head hunted us....we had Dick Williams as manager that year...and unlike a lot of managers who have the pitcher retailiate against "their guys" Dick INSISTED our pitchers try and hit their pitcher! It was great, but it took 3 PITCHERS to hit the guy...the umpire kept tossing our pitchers out. It was a REAL donnybrook. I'm trying to think of the guy's name..it will come to me....the beauty of it is Atlanta didn't much like their own guy either and were "sauntering" off the bench to get into "the fight" -- you could tell a lot of them thought he deserved it and were grateful the Padre pitchers weren't going after THEM but the guy who deserved it!