Or, why was it such a big deal when the USA Hockey Team defeated the Soviets?
In 1980, the USA hockey team defeated the Soviets and then went on to win Olympic Gold.
The USA Hockey Team was made up of college kids. At the time, the Americans still held firm to the notion that its athletes should be amateurs. At best, these kids were scrappy. They were a "blue-collar, lunch-pail" group of guys. They had to make do with what they had available to them. Not much more than paupers.
The Soviets, on the other, fielded a team of their best professional players--among the most skilled hockey players in the world. The team had every resource available to them: the best coaches, equipment, training. Indeed, they were treated like royalty.
It was a time when the United States was down on its luck. There was an energy crisis followed by a recession. Fifty-two Americans were being held hostage in Iran. American flags were burned. Trauma from the Vietnam War lingered. The Cold War raged on. And it kind of felt like the Russians were winning.
So there was a lot riding on this game. Not just for this team, it's players, but for every American.
Against all odds, when the USA Hockey team took the ice on February 22, 1980, in Lake Placid, NY, the Americans held off the Soviets in the third period to win the game and advance to the Gold medal game against the Finns two days later. It was inconceivable that this would happen.
It was a miracle. But how?
"This was a case when a magical coach got a magical bunch of kids to believe they could do something they really couldn't."
When everyone has the same values, understands the purpose, sees the vision of what is possible, wants to achieve that same goal, and is willing to do what it takes to accomplish that goal, that's when the magic happens.
That's when miracles occur.
It's not really magic, though. It's human nature. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all want to do inspiring work. And we want to be valued and respected while doing that work.
As our boss (or our coach), how are you getting us there? How are you showing us what it could be like? How are you showing us that everything we're doing has meaning? How are demonstrating for us -- every day -- that we matter? How are you supporting us in our work? How are you helping us get it done?
Are you giving to us or are you taking from us? Do you understand that you work for us or do you believe that we work for you?
We may not be the USA Hockey Team. The stakes may not be as high. The stage may not be as big. But that doesn't mean we don't want to win like that 1980 team. It doesn't mean that we don't have it in us. We do!
We want to experience that joy. We want to make a difference.
But we need your leadership.
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