Keep rooting for the USA
The United States was really struggling in 1980. The Iranian revolution in 1979 iresulted in 52 Americans being held captive for 444 days. The second oil crisis in less than a decade strapped Americans with fuel restrictions. The prime interest rates of 16.5% lead to home sales 30% lower than 2009, as stated in a New York Times article by David Leonhardt. Combined unemployment and underemployment was ascending to its eventual peak of 16.3%.
On February 24, 1980, all of these problems disappeared, if only for a day, when the U.S. Hockey team defeated U.S.S.R. in the 1980 Olympic games. This is still considered a sports miracle, as the U.S. team comprised of college kids defeated the modern equivalent of professional all-stars.
As I watched the U.S. Mens team get eliminated from the World Cup last week at a jam packed restaurant, I could not help drawing a comparison between the two sporting events and the times in which they were played. Today’s problems may be different and mostly self-inflicted, but they are no less dire. Foreign affairs, immigration, energy policy and our healthcare industry are all essentially in disarray. We hold our breath each June wondering which liberties and rights we get to keep, based on the narrow decisions of nine judges. The "City on a Hill" is far from shining these days and many have grown tired and frustrated with the direction of our country.
It sure was nice to stand elbow to elbow among total strangers watching our boys play soccer. For nearly two hours, the only left and right wingers were dribbling a ball up and down the field on the surrounding televisions. Everyone was there to root for the same outcome. It felt good to just be an American again for a change.
The U.S. win over the U.S.S.R. in 1980 wound up preceding incredibly positive changes throughout America and much of the world. Let’s hope the U.S. loss to Belgium last week is no such sign of things to come, as we continue our struggle back to exceptionalism.