It was never going to be what we experienced in 1980, but it sure would have been nice to have re-visited hockey gold. And for a while, it looked like Team USA was going to stand atop the medal stand once more.
Thirty years after the "miracle on ice," we witnessed another watershed moment for Team USA at these Vancouver Olympics. One week ago, the American hockey team felled mighty Team Canada at the Olympics for the first time since 1960-- an on Canadian home ice, no less.
Let me re-phrase something; perhaps it wouldn't have been the same, first-time thrill for casual, American hockey fans like me. But for those gladiators like Ryan Miller who have dedicated every fiber of their existence, a gold medal would have meant the world.
One dynamic that's different from '80 is the fact that there was no true David vs. Goliath scenario. Yes, Team Canada is 100 percent stocked with NHL players, but Team USA was the team to be reckoned with from the start of these games. Another difference is even though the Canucks created the game and tend to remind one of Kentucky basketball, you really don't hate the Canadians the way you did the Russians back in the day. When a class act like Scott Neidermayer tips his cap to you after the game, it's tough to bear ill will.
So we ring down the curtain on the 2010 games with a thrilling hockey game that ends in heartbreak for Team USA. But Zach Parise's empty-net score with :24 seconds left forced sudden death and made us all believe at least for a little while, that lighting might strike again. Maybe it will, but not today.
Thanks, boys. See you in Sochi in four years.
* Jimmycrackedcorndawg, much like Les Miles, is proud of the USA's "damn, fine hockey team."