Sunday, February 22, 2015

What's On TV Tonight (1980)?

We take this break from 1969 to check in with Jim McKay and the XIII Olympic Winter Games on ABC tonight (Feb. 22), 1980 ...


36 comments:

  1. OK, I don't think I ever understood the medal-round format, but Jim McKay just gave us the 411. So, the United States and Sweden qualified for the medal round from the Blue Division; the Soviet Union and Finland, from the Red. Each team carried its record against the other team from its division into the medal round, and then each team played the two teams advancing from the opposite division. You get two points for a win, one for a tie and none for a loss, and the top point total wins the gold.

    So, entering tonight's game, which was actually played at 5 Eastern time but is being shown on tape delay in prime time, here are the standings:

    USSR 1-0-0 (2 points)
    USA 0-0-1 (1 point)
    Sweden 0-0-1 (1 point)
    Finland 0-1-0 (0 points)

    After this game, Sweden and Finland play each other tonight. And then the United States plays Finland and the Soviets play Sweden on Sunday, Feb. 24.

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  2. Eleven-year-old me dialed in to this U.S. team early. I was playing on the shag carpet in my bedroom when Bill Baker scored the tying goal in the 2-2, tournament-opening draw with Sweden that would ultimately put the United States into the medal round. That sounds made up, but it's not. I totally remember it, and even 11-year-old me thought it was just crazy that the extra-skater strategy actually worked and produced the tie. From that goal on, I was totally jazzed about this team and everything Olympics.

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  3. That game was on Feb. 12. Then the United States beat Czechoslovakia, 7-3, on Feb. 14 and Norway, 5-1, on Feb. 16.

    Wait, have I done this post before? I think I might've written about all of this stuff at the HP before.

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  4. No, apparently not. OK, good. I wonder what's a worse sign--getting confused and writing the post multiple times or getting confused and thinking you had written a post previously and then discovering you hadn't?

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  5. I remember being stunned that the U.S. team could beat Czechoslovakia and Norway--those places sounded like they should be icy countries with big, tough guys. But I had done a report on Romania for social studies one year, and I knew that things there seemed pretty bleak; I was not surprised by the United States' 7-2 win over Romania on Feb. 18.

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  6. And then, on Feb. 20, there was a 4-2, come-from-0-2-behind win over West Germany that I don't remember at all. That game must've been amazing, and I'm sure I watched it because we stayed home every night to watch the Olympics. Any sort of presidential convention, Olympics, big TV miniseries, etc. ... that's all we did in the evenings until stuff like that went off the air. Then we'd go back to the occasional trips out to drink Cokes on the riverfront or eat Long Johns at Donut Kastle or whatever.

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  7. I do know that, by the time the medal round started, I was gaga for this team. I knew the odds were against the United States; I'm pretty sure we watched this exhibition on Wide World of Sports or whatever before the Olympics started. But still ... I was 11, and I figured this was a team of destiny.

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  8. Then the Soviets took 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads in the medal-round game with the United States, and inevitability seemed to be settling in on Team USA, Klinger and me. I don't remember this particular instance, but, so often in games where my team was hopelessly behind, Dad would come into my bedroom and try to prepare me emotionally for a loss. That was always the worst. I wouldn't even look at him. I'd just keep my eyes fixed on my little black-and-white set, while he stood in the doorway trying to head off my disappointment. I imagine something like this was going on after two periods.

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    1. At this point, the Soviet coach benched his star goalie. "For the Americans," says the Soviet captain, "it was like a life-saving gulp of air."

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  9. I really wish this YouTube video was the original ABC telecast with the commercial breaks and the cut backs and forth to other events, but, still, the Internet is Amazing--and thank you, YouTube user "andy15hockey," who posted this.

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  10. I didn't know anything about hockey then, and I still don't now.

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  11. It wasn't like I could watch and get a sense of how the game was going by recognizing some matchup shift or strategy change; it was just all about hearing the excitement or doom in the voice of Al Michaels and the Lake Placid fans and the looks on the players' faces.

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  12. Now I'm sitting here following the same clues. Except this time I know how the result comes out, so I'm just trying to remember or imagine what 11-year-old me was feeling or what my parents might have been saying.

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  13. Replies
    1. "The host team is attacking again," the Soviet TV commentators are translated as saying. They consistently refer to the Americans as "the host team," not "the Americans" or "the United States" or whatever, in the clips in this movie.

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  14. Well, that really is incredible. The United States, who scored in the last couple of seconds of the first period to tie at 2, ties at 3 in the last couple of seconds of a power-play opportunity.

    11:21 to go, "and," Al Michaels says, "finally the building has come to life!"

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    1. "Our defenseman made a mistake," says the Russian commentator.

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  15. And here's Mike Eruzione's go-ahead goal ... amazing ... that ecstatic, high-stepping, fist-pumping run that Eruzione does after his score ... wow ... that really is so great ... 10 minutes to go, Herb Brooks is smiling and, Michaels says, "now we've got bedlam!"

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    1. "I couldn't make sense of what was happening," says the replaced Soviet goalie.

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  16. After a couple of Soviet misses, Michaels starts to, again, contextualize what's happening for us ... USSR enters this game with two points; USA, one ... American win would give us three points to Soviets' two, and win over Finland would clinch gold ... 6:47 to go ...

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    1. Oh, weird ... I went to lunch, came back and discover that the ESPN movie is no longer available on YouTube. Apparently, it was not posted by there by ESPN; I thought it had been. Well, it's a terrific movie. I hope to see the end on ESPN Classic some time.

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  17. Michaels cautions that the Canadians led the Soviets after two periods and that Finland led the USSR with five minutes to go in their game ... oh, shut up, Al Michaels!

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  18. "2:25 ... 2:24 ... 2:23 remaining," says Michaels ... "2:09 ..."

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  19. "A minute, 58 ... a minute, 57 ..."

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  20. And there it is. That still really is so excellent. Hurrah! HURRAH!

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  21. Incidentally, the Chuck Mangione song at the opening of ABC's telecast is "Give It All You Got," which was the official theme of the XIII Olympic Winter Games.

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