3:33 Sports Short #29 // Perspective by Shelley Johansson

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Today's pair of 3:33 Sports Shorts also focus on a sport that recently wrapped up in America… hockey! Although we don't have any fond memories from a writer who grew up loving the Penguins in the glory days of Mario Lemieux, we do have Shelley Johansson's lyrical recalling of the iconic "Miracle on Ice" and a harrowing recollection of what it felt like to be a fan on the losing end of an intense seven game Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, courtesy of Abigail Mitchell. Enjoy!

I was almost dizzy with the memory of the improbable, fantastic victory, standing in the Lake Placid arena where the 1980 US men’s hockey team defeated the USSR and went on to take Olympic gold. Like any American alive then I can still hear Bob Costas shout, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!” as the final seconds ran out. To open the door to that arena in person some 25 years later was a marvel, and I was there with truly sports-loving people, my husband and in-laws.

I began to babble almost uncontrollably about how I’d watched the game as a preteen, what a nail-biter it had been, and the delicious, unforgettable euphoria of the triumph and how much it had all meant. I was speaking Swedish because my father-in-law doesn’t speak English that well – but once I tore my eyes from the ice and saw their faces, I shut right up.  

With a bemused smile, my husband explained that what his parents remembered most about the 1980 Winter Olympics was that Sweden had been favored to win the hockey gold but wound up taking bronze. I giggled, embarrassed, and my mother-in-law assured me that the Games hadn’t been a complete disappointment for Sweden – the great slalom skier Ingemar Stenmark acquitted himself pretty well with two golds. Perspective is everything, I said, and we laughed and laughed.

Shelley Johansson is a marketer and non-profit professional whose writing has been featured in The Bitter Southerner, Acquired Taste, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and elsewhere. A native of Tennessee now living in Pennsylvania, she's married to a lovely man from Sweden, and mom to one fantastic 12-year-old girl. You can find her on Twitter at @ShelleyJohansso.