The Herb Brooks Guide to Life

Because who doesn't want some life advice from one of the most famous and successful coaches ever, amirite?

If you've ever seen Miracle, you've witnessed Kurt Russell spouting some gems; "The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen," and, "The name on the front of the jersey is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!" to name a few. They sound like great Hollywood screenwriting, but the great part is that Herb Brooks actually said all of these things in real life. As far as I know, every quotable line from movie!Herb was taken directly from real!Herb. I, for one, am sort of sad that the movie doesn't show his pre-gold medal game speech: "If you lose this game, you'll take it to your f*cking graves" is one of my personal favorite quotes of his. So prolific, so eloquent.

In fact, Herb was so prolific that a bunch of members of the Miracle on Ice team -- Bah Harrington, Dave Silk and Mike Eruzione -- took to recording all of his sayings (dubbed "Brooksisms") in a little notebook. Things like, "You're playing worse every day and right now you're playing like it's the middle of next month," and, "You've got a million dollar set of legs and a ten-cent fart for a brain." Poetry, I tell you!

Start watching at about 10:15 in to hear the players talk about their favorite Brooksisms (read: insults). :)

But in all seriousness, Herb didn't coach two teams to Olympic medals by accident. In fact, some of his quotes suggest that he probably could've been a successful life coach. So here's what we can all learn from the incomparable Herb Brooks. (Most quotes and photos courtesy of the Herb Brooks Foundation.)

Because no matter how good you are, there's no substitute for busting your butt.

You won't make anything happen for yourself if you don't put yourself out there.

"My recruiting key -- I looked for PEOPLE first, athletes second. I wanted people with a sound value system as you cannot buy values. You're only as good as your values. I learned early on that you do not put greatness into people... but somehow try to pull it out." -- Pretty self explanatory! Be quality human beings, folks.

Okay, you might not play anything, but you're meant to be where you are. You earned your success. Own it.

The grandaddy of all Herb Brooks quotes! You'll never get the chance to defeat the Soviets (er, hypothetically) if you don't give yourself the opportunity to. History-making moments don't happen by accident.

"Let me start with issuing you a challenge: Be better than you are. Set a goal that seems unattainable, and when you reach that goal, set another one even higher." -- Don't even need to touch this one, do I?

So, this might sound like an insult, but it's a fantastic way of going about your life. There are probably some crazy-talented people that can be lazy and get by, but for the rest of us, our talent won't get us anywhere by itself. Nose, meet grindstone.

"We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams." -- Ain't that the truth!

Now, don't you feel all ready to strap on the ol' skates and score some goals for your country?!



  1. I just stumbled upon your blog and I wanted to let you know that I love this post :) My husband plays pro hockey and I really love how you took all of these hockey related quotes and applied them to real life :)

    1. Thanks so much! :) That's so cool that your husband plays pro hockey! I'm super into Olympic hockey but am just starting to try to get invested in the NHL this season, lol. :)