Who do you play for?

(Photo from On Frozen Blog)

You guys might not know this about me, but I am a total sucker for true-life, inspirational sports stories. Like the kind that Disney would reject as too schmaltzy (except, they, um, usually don’t). The Rookie, Rudy, Friday Night Lights, all of that stuff. I eat it up. Maybe it’s because I’m an easy mark and I always want to believe in the scrappy underdog but I can’t help it, those kinds of movies usually have me crying myself dehydrated. The worst (or best) among them, though, is Miracle. I am telling you, that movie hit me where I live. Could be because I grew up a hockey fan, or that as a New Englander, the accents had a way of making me homesick when I wasn’t far from home. Or that Kurt Russell and the boys playing his team did such a good job of getting a normally level-headed, politically considerate person to stand up and chant “USA! USA! USA!” by so convincingly villainizing the Russians. I don’t remember the original Miracle on Ice as I was, um, less than four months old at the time, but man, I could watch that movie every day and never get sick of it.

This is all by way of saying the Olympics are starting soon! And with them, men’s ice hockey. Which is, in a word, AWESOME. I wrote a preview piece for NESN today about the primary players in the games. And while it’s unlikely that we’ll get another Miracle situation simply because we’re letting professionals play in the games, that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about it. To whit, a conversation I had with Chrissy yesterday:

Me: We have to watch Olympic hockey this year because the NHL has not agreed to participate beyond the 2010 games. So they might be back to amateurs after this.

Chrissy: BUT THEN WE CAN HAVE MIRACLE AGAIN.

Me: True. Although, do we hate the Russians now? We don’t, right? I mean, who else could we beat that would be as satisfactory? I don’t think the Taliban fields a hockey team.

Chrissy: It’s true. It’s hard.

Me: Well, Zdeno Chara is playing for Slovakia. I don’t know why but that makes me happy. I might secretly root for Slovakia.

And then we proceeded to shout Miracle quotes at each other for the better part of two hours.

As you do.

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