So, 2014 Was Kind Of Awesome?

Normally I hate posting the exact same things as other people, but I'm going to try to shelve that for a minute, because since it's the last day of 2014 it's about time to check up on my New Year's resolutions. (Seriously, I'm sorry for dumping another New Year's post on top of the eighty million already out there.)

2014 was quite the year. It saw me step into this weird thing called "adulthood" while realizing a dream I'd had for my entire life. I was unemployed on two separate occasions, but I managed to survive and even met a handful of my athletic heroes while I was out of work (see here and here) so it's hard to be too mad about that. 2014 was a year of transition; lots of great moments but certainly not without some angst, and I really feel like I've started to figure myself out. Life? Eh, not so much. But I know how I operate, which is a pretty cool thing. Also, I watched about a zillion hours of Sochi Olympics coverage, so that was pretty great!

Anyway, onto those resolutions I made!

1. Get a freaking job. Success! TWICE! Okay, both jobs I got have been temporary, but I'm pretty thrilled with employment of any sort. Especially because it means I was hired by the United States Olympic Committee TWICE this year. :)

2. Purge & refresh my room. This became a moot point, as I moved out of my parents' house about three weeks after making this resolution and am no longer living in my childhood bedroom. However, I was in the process of getting this done, and got rid of so many garbage bags of crap. So I'll call this half a success, since I moved back to Colorado before getting the chance to finish.

3. Get active again. Success! I wasn't as regular with this as I probably should've been, but after not working out for basically all of 2013, even sporadic workouts were a HUGE step in the right direction. Anyone else use the Nike Fit app? Those four-week workout programs were lifesavers. Kicked my butt AND kept me accountable and on-track!

4. Get out of the house. Again, kind of a moot point for most of the year while I was getting out every day for work. But while I was unemployed this was definitely a thing. I could've done better and did spend a lot of time at home, but I made regular plans with my friends and did some solo adventuring around Colorado. So this is another half success -- a definite step in the right direction.

5. Read more. Success! I read all sorts of Olympic books this year (see here and here). One of the good things about unemployment? Lots of time to read!

6. Work on the blog. Success! In June I started phasing in an editorial calendar, and now I consistently post three times a week. I started Miracle Monday, and contribute to Travel Tuesday just about every week. 2014 has been my blog's most successful year so far, with numbers consistently trending upwards, which is PRETTY awesome!

7. Put leisure time to good use. Success! Sports movies? Check. (Still need to see Chariots of Fire, though...) And I've also spent a good amount of time poking around in Photoshop. I'm still no expert, but I'm now at the point where I regularly make things that I like. So I'm pleased. :)

8. Chop off my hair and get new glasses. Success! Did this right before I went back to Colorado way back in January. All within about an hour, too. Talk about an appearance overhaul!

9. Stay on a normal-person sleep schedule. Success! Would you believe it? I went from getting out of bed after noon on weekends, to getting out of bed by 9:30 on weekends. Still pretty late by some people's standards, but this is a pretty big deal for me, guys. I'm slowly transitioning into a tiny bit of a morning person.

10. Make myself a schedule & stick to it. Again, this was a moot point except while I was unemployed. I did stick to a schedule, though never the one I planned out for myself. I always try to get myself up and productive in the mornings, but that's just not how I'm wired. I started most of my days slowly, with a smoothie and a book and some coffee and blog reading, and then I was ready to tackle some tasks. So there WAS regularity, and I DID do everything that I needed to do on any given day... so, another half success.

11. Stop being so hard on myself. I honestly think this'll always be a work in progress. But honestly, I did REALLY well with this during my second stint of unemployment. I had my strugglebus moments, but for the most part I was positive and confident in myself. It was unexpected and... kind of amazing, actually.

12. Floss every day. SUCCESS! I'm so proud of myself! It was kind of hard to remember to do it at first, but it became a part of my routine and now it's second nature. It's also kept me from ever skipping brushing my teeth (don't even pretend you've never done this!), so I feel pretty good about the state of my dental hygiene. And we all know how I feel about my teeth.

The verdict: I actually stuck to every single one of my New Year's resolutions in 2014. Is that even possible? What the heck? High five, 2014! I think we kind of rocked it!

Since this year was so successful (seriously, what the heck), I'm thinking about mostly just sticking to these same resolutions. I feel like having these small, manageable goals helped me make conscious decisions that helped me improve myself this year. But I guess that means they're not really resolutions anymore, and have become just a part of life and my thought process. That being said, here's what I want to add for 2015.

  1. Get better at communicating. Strange, since communicating is what I do for a living. But I'm terrible at responding to Facebook messages and personal emails, and I get really nervous about checking and sending professional emails, and I'm just really bad at keeping in touch with friends! I need to change all of this!
  2. Go adventuring again. When I was studying abroad, I was so great about getting out and exploring and discovering cool places. Why am I so lazy about that in America? Colorado is an awesome place and I need to see more of it. And if I end up moving somewhere else, I need to explore there too.
  3. Get a job that doesn't have a built-in end date.* (2015 is the year, guys. It's time.)
  4. Keep flossing every day. ;)
I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve! Go forth and kick 2015's butt!

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Miracle Monday: USA vs. Norway

Miracle Monday

This is my first Miracle Monday written from outside of Colorado, and it feels kind of strange... but hello from New York! And this is also the final Miracle Monday of 2014. What? When did that happen? How is this possible?

Anyway, moving onto the game at hand. The U.S. played Norway during the exhibition season prior to the Olympics, and that game is much more famous than this one, as it was the setting for the infamous "Herbies in the dark" incident. This game, however, held significantly more weight, and luckily the better team came out on top!

Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games Miracle on Ice USA vs. Norway


What: USA 5 - 1 NOR

Who: Mike Eruzione
         Mark Johnson (assists: Dave Christian, Rob McClanahan)
         Dave Silk (assists: Mark Pavelich, Ken Morrow)
         Mark Wells (assists: Dave Silk, Phil Verchota)
         Ken Morrow (assists: Rob McClanahan, Eric Strobel)


+ This game was played in the old Olympic arena, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics and only held 1,200 people. The tournament was split between this arena and the new one, built for the 1980 Olympics, and each team had to play at least one game in each arena to avoid giving anyone an unfair "home ice" advantage. So even though the U.S. was the home team and by now was drawing some serious interest, it had to take its turn playing in this dinky little arena. Needless to say, it was a packed house.

+ After the U.S. did so unexpectedly well in the first two games, there was some concern that this game would be a bit of a let-down; Norway was a team that the U.S. was expected to beat, so people were worried that it wouldn't take this game seriously enough. And honestly, it looked that way at the beginning. The first period was ATROCIOUS. Between the two teams there were five penalties in the first five minutes (seriously, it was absurd), and at the end of the period Norway led 1-0.

+ Mike Eruzione scored the first U.S. goal during a power play in the second period. This was his second goal of the Olympics; he also scored the first goal against Czechoslovakia. He also scored the first goal against the Soviets in the exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. So, while he's known for a goal that won a rather important game, it's worth noting that he was often the one to kickstart the team's offense.

+ Al Michaels and Ken Dryden devote a good chunk of air time to talking about how well Mark Pavelich had played thus far. He'd set up Bill Baker's goal against Sweden, scored a goal and an assist against Czechoslovakia, and assisted Dave Silk's goal in this game. Al and Ken mention how he's been all over the ice and playing absolutely excellently, and in the previous game Ken says how he hadn't been drafted by the NHL but "that shouldn't last too long now." They pretty much call him out as a future star -- even after acknowledging his small size! -- and he does indeed go on to tear it up in the NHL. What a rockstar. :)

+ This is Ken Morrow's only goal of the Olympics, and it's fabulous. In general, Ken's slap shot was really slow, and this one was no different. It wasn't a fast shot, and the Norwegian goalie had a clear look at it... but it was so slow that he figured one of his defenders would deflect it before it got to him, but none of them did, so he didn't move for it in time. The defenders, of course, figured their goalie had this shot well in hand, so they didn't bother getting in the way. Oops? :P As much as people joked about Ken's slow shot, he was also known for scoring big goals in key situations -- including a pretty legendary overtime game-winner in the 1984 Stanley Cup Playoffs to give his Islanders a 3-2 series victory over the Rangers. In a nutshell: Ken Morrow got stuff done.


...Nowhere. The only video I've been able to find has been blocked on YouTube due to copyright. So, womppp. There are a handful of seconds of footage at the beginning of this clip HERE, but that's all I've got. #struggles

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The Olympics Go Hollywood: Foxcatcher

FINALLY. Foxcatcher was released on November 14th but only in select cities, and over a month later it finally made its way to one theater in Colorado Springs. So on Christmas Eve, I decided to be the ultimate Jewish stereotype and see a movie before getting Chinese food for dinner. :)

Foxcatcher is the story of Mark Schultz, a wrestler who competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. After '84, he's in a pretty bad place and ends up moving onto the Foxcatcher Farms estate to train under John du Pont, a mentally unstable sociopath. Entwined with Mark's story is that of his brother Dave, also an Olympic wrestler, who eventually comes to live at Foxcatcher as well.

The movie was released at the same time as Mark's autobiography and is essentially based on the book. Though I haven't read it, I've been familiar with Dave's story for the better part of a year now. At my last job with the USOC, one of my tasks was to post our video content to; one of the videos I posted was about Dave, and as I'd never heard of him before I decided to watch it. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair when I learned about his story.

So if you watch that video, that's most of the background info I had going in. I'd read reviews of the film here and there, so I knew a little bit more, but not too much. Either way, I went in knowing that this was not going to be a feel-good movie. I knew I'd probably be super creeped out and maybe a teensy bit traumatized.

Boy, did I hit THAT nail on the head. (This is going to be long, because WOW do I have a lot of feelings.)

Let me start off by saying that Foxcatcher is incredibly well done, in all aspects. It was a little bit slow at times, but everything was really on point. I had read various criticisms that some of the details weren't correct and that the timeline was slightly off, but as someone who didn't have an intimate knowledge of the details nor the timeline, nothing the movie did felt wrong or strange. I did know that the very end of the movie skipped ahead almost eight years in the blink of an eye and didn't indicate that at all, but I don't think that harmed the integrity of the story. The timing of that final event was fairly irrelevant.

The actors' transformations were absolutely mind-blowing. I didn't see Mark Ruffalo on screen; he WAS Dave Schultz. Steve Carrell was phenomenal as John du Pont, and I was really surprised at how convincing Channing Tatum was as Mark Schultz.

Real (left) vs. fiction (right). Check out the image source for more side-by-side comparisons. It's crazy.

I was also amazed by the sound design, which sounds really snooty and isn't something I ever thought I'd say... But this was a very quiet film. There was a whole lot of silence, and a lot of information was conveyed nonverbally or through very few words. The score was also incredibly fitting; on one hand it sounded innocent, but on the other it was dark and ominous. So when the score faded away into silence -- wow. It was powerful. And CREEPY. The movie starts off with old, grainy footage (that I think was actual footage of the du Ponts at Foxcatcher in the '20s or '30s) set to this sinister music. It was a great way to set everything up; horseback riding and groups of dogs and high society all look nice, but there was this decidedly menacing undertone.

In terms of the story, I was surprised at how it didn't really portray Mark as a hero. He was incredibly flawed, and you got the feeling that he was his own worst enemy. He had a knack for making bad choices; he had very low self-confidence and self-worth; and he managed to sabotage his own success every single time. He wasn't a bad guy, so I was rooting for him to just make better decisions and think more highly of himself! It was almost painful to watch du Pont take him under his wing, because he knew the exact things to say to get Mark's loyalty; "the great Mark Schultz" and "you're more than Dave Schultz's younger brother," etc. Mark was an easy target. Dave, on the other hand, was the far more sympathetic character even though he had far less screen time. He was popular, happily married with two kids, successful, a beautifully caring person, and on and on and on. I spent most of the movie wanting to see more of Dave, which is, sadly, kind of fitting. A huge source of angst in Mark's life was Dave's shadow, and how everyone shunted him aside because of how beloved Dave was. I felt vaguely guilty that I was doing that very thing.

(Note: the following contains spoilers, so if you want to read the book or see the movie without knowing what happens, don't continue! But if you watched the video embedded up top, you already know what happens.)

I appreciated how guns were a running theme throughout the movie. John du Pont ordered himself what looked like a tank, and flat-out refused to accept it because it wasn't equipped with a machine gun. He brought a handgun into the gym at one point, and fired at the ceiling for no real reason. There was a scene with du Pont shooting target practice with police officers, and there was a very poignant moment that was just a close-up of his face with the sound of gunfire in the background. Great foreshadowing. Another running theme? Foxcatcher was in Valley Forge. So there was a pretty heartbreaking juxtaposition of the estate with the shadow of thousands of deaths. Soldiers died there while fighting for their country, and Dave died there having also fought for his country (as an Olympian).

When it came to Dave's death, even though I knew it was coming, I felt physically ill waiting for it and then watching it happen. His murder was so pointless, and the whole movie was spent making you fall in love with him... so watching him die the way he did was absolutely devastating. I'm still pretty crushed.

My biggest complaint about the movie is how it ended: Dave was killed, Mark was shown doing some MMA fighting, and that was it. Dave and Mark's relationship was such a huge part of the movie, and I felt cheated that we never got to see Mark's reaction to Dave's death. It's like there were five minutes of film that were chopped off at the end. There was no real resolution, and I left the theater still reeling from Dave's death. (So hey, maybe that's the point.)

Long story short: it's an amazing movie, you should definitely go see it, but don't expect any warm-fuzzies!

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Miracle Monday: USA vs. Czechoslovakia

Miracle Monday

Guys, you are in for a treat today. This game is without a doubt my favorite of the whole 1980 Olympic hockey tournament -- yes, better than the actual Miracle on Ice game, and yes, better than the gold medal game. I mean, steamrolling the second best team in the world? Come on. It doesn't get much better!

lake placid 1980 olympic hockey miracle on ice team usa vs. czechoslovakia


What: USA 7 - 3 CZE

Who: Mike Eruzione (assist: Neal Broten)
        Mark Pavelich (assists: Buzz Schneider, John Harrington)
        Buzz Schneider (assist: Mark Pavelich)
        Mark Johnson (assist: Rob McClanahan)
        Phil Verchota (assist: Dave Christian)
        Buzz Schneider (assist: John Harrington)
        Rob McClanahan (assist: Mark Johnson)


+ The Czechs scored the first goal of the game within just a few minutes, but after that, the U.S. completely took over. One of the Canadian commentators said that the Czechs were reeling and that he'd never seen them lose their composure like they did in this game. The first period ended with the score at 2-2, and... well, look at the final score. You can probably figure out how the rest of the game went. (#domination.) And if you recall in Miracle, during the Soviet game they have Ken Dryden say that at Madison Square Garden, the U.S. was playing "very tentative, very nervous, very much in awe of the Soviet team. But this is a U.S. team that tonight is not in awe of anyone." Well, he really said that, word for word. But in real life, it was said during this game. That's how good it was.

+ Um, can we talk about the Conehead line? Between Buzz Schneider, Mark Pavelich and John Harrington, they scored three goals and four assists. Prettyyyy casual. I have to tip my cap to my man Pav, since I love him his goal gave the U.S. it's first lead of the Olympics. :) He had a goal and an assist, Buzz had two goals and an assist, and Bah had two assists. They were basically unstoppable. And the best part, as Ken Dryden points out in his commentating, is that they were essentially being used as a defensive line to try and stifle the scoring of the top Czech line... yet they were the Americans' most effective scoring weapon. They were threatening for literally the entire game. It's a beautiful thing.

+ With a goal and an assist, this game was Mark Johnson's Olympic coming out party. He hadn't gotten any points in the game against Sweden; he wasn't pleased about that and, before this game, said that it was Valentine's Day so he HAD to get a goal. (Adorable. I'm sure his fiancé appreciated that!) And after this game, he would go on to be the team's leading scorer in the Olympic tournament with five goals and six assists. What a baller.

+ Mark Johnson was a part of another oddly important moment that had nothing to do with scoring. Rather, it was his injury. He fell victim to a cheap crosscheck near the end of the game, when he was nowhere near the puck -- a penalty out of Czech frustration, basically. (Would that make it a crossczech? HAH.) As he was down on the ice for awhile, the cameras panned over to Herb Brooks behind the bench. Herb knew that Mark was his most valuable player, so there he was, yelling at this Czech player that he was going to shove his stick down his throat. He was furious. For everyone who was sick and tired of America being metaphorically kicked while it was down, they loved seeing this hard-ass American coach willing to stand up and fight for his boys.

+ I really need to give a shout-out to the defenders, because most of them go pretty unheralded, but they were all so on point in this game. Bill Baker got hit in the face with a slap shot in the first period and didn't miss a shift. Mike Ramsey was consistently riding Czech forwards out of plays like a pro. Ken Morrow was, as always, exactly where he needed to be at all times (and apparently separated his shoulder but kept it so discreet that you'd never have any idea). Dave Christian got his first assist (a nice little prelude to the seven others he'd go on to score) and single-handedly saved a goal when Jim Craig accidentally let a puck slip through his legs. Bob Suter had his moment in the sun when he was let loose on the Czechs to avenge Mark Johnson's injury. And they were all constantly throwing themselves onto the ice to block shots. Jack O'Callahan still wasn't medically cleared to play (though he did dress for this game), but every single other defender was in the action and a total rockstar.

In a nutshell: this game was beyond wonderful. And I need to quote Ken Dryden one more time, because he kind of sums it up better than I ever could;
"I think if any of us had heard of any of the U.S. players a few months ago, it would've been a Ramsey or a Johnson or a McClanahan. And while they've done their share tonight, tonight's game really belongs to the people that you never really hear much about; the Schneiders, the Paveliches, the Eruziones, the Wellses, the Harringtons. They've been excellent."
Like I said, it's a beautiful thing. :)


You know what sucks? There used to be a seven-minute compilation of highlights from this game on YouTube, but it has apparently been set to private and it no longer accessible. (I threw an absolute fit when I realized this. Let's not even talk about it. I'm still bitter.) So, regretfully, all I can provide you with is footage of Mark Johnson's (admittedly beautiful) goal -- click HERE. But you can also watch Mark's injury and Herb's subsequent flip-out HERE. If I hadn't made it clear enough already, I HIGHLY recommend watching both!

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8 Reasons You Should Want to Celebrate Chanukah

Can I be honest for a second? If I see one more "Christmas gift guide for him/her/your dog/your mom/your hipster friend/your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," I'm going to vomit.

I'm not trying to insult anyone who's written one (or five. Does anyone ever write just one?). But honestly, talk about overload. Is it a requirement for every single blogger out there to put together gift guides for Christmas? Did everyone sign some contract when they created their blogs that set some sort of Christmas gift guide quota? Because I must've missed that memo.

Really, I'm not a Grinch or a Scrooge, I promise. I'm just Jewish (so, same thing?). And of all the blogs I follow -- which is a pretty decent amount -- I have not seen a single solitary post about Chanukah. Are there any other Jewish bloggers out there? Anyone? ...Bueller?


Okay, so, if I'm the only blogger that's been Bat Mitzvah'd, I think it's my duty to diversity the holiday posts, and maybe equalize the representation a little bit. Because as much as everyone loves Christmas, everyone is also stressed out of their mind about Christmas. Meanwhile, us Jews over here are eating donuts and chillin'. In other words: you should want to celebrate Chanukah.

1. It lasts eight nights. We may not have the Christmas morning experience, but isn't Christmas all about traditions anyway? Well, Chanukah gives you eight nights of gifts (delayed gratification for the win!) and eight opportunities to create traditions!

2. Candles. It seems that most people are absolutely head-over-heels for candles (again, was this in that blogger contract I missed?). When you celebrate Chanukah, the only required part of the "celebration" is lighting candles. Only two on the first night, but by the time the eighth night rolls around, you're lighting nine! I don't even have that candle obsession, but even I love it when the menorah's lit. There's something strangely calming about it.

3. It's an excuse to eat fried food. Quick basic religion lesson: Chanukah celebrates the miracle of oil that was only supposed to burn for one night ending up burning for eight. So as much as we're celebrating light, we're also celebrating oil. Nowadays we don't light it on fire (though I guess you could do that if you want?), but we do fry things in it. Donuts? Totally Chanukah-appropriate!

4. Latkes. The ultimate fried food, latkes are totally worthy of their own place on this list, because holy delicious, Batman! I literally look forward to Chanukah every year for the sole reason of my grandma's latkes. They're a game-changer. The last few years I've gotten to make them with her, and this year I made my first solo attempt! Pretty bomb for a first try, I must say! They're super time consuming and the process is incredibly messy and you'll smell like fry for the rest of your life, but for so much deliciousness? WORTH IT.

Sorry they're not prettier. And sorry the photo sucks. But listen, I'd just been peeling/grating/frying for two hours, so...

5. It's really not about the gifts. Maybe this is just my own wrong perception, but when I was younger it sounded like all my friends got every material object in their wildest dreams for Christmas and ended the morning drowning in crumpled wrapping paper. I've definitely gotten some great Chanukah presents over the years, and I was definitely always excited to open presents, but it was never this massive gift-fest like Christmas sounded like. On Chanukah, you get excited about getting one gift on each night, not a thousand things in one go. And maybe it's just my family, but we don't buy gifts for every single person we know, so the idea that people are so stressed out of their minds about Christmas shopping is a completely foreign concept to me.

6. It's an excuse to watch Miracle. Chanukah is literally celebrating a miracle. So "do you believe in miracles?" is actually a pretty flawless Chanukah reference! Would you believe me if I said I hadn't put that together until this week? I know, clearly I've been slacking.

My mom found this on Pinterest and it changed my life. There's a whole DIY tutorial at the source!

7. It's a way to celebrate religion without having to go to services. On Christmas, is there any religious aspect anymore unless you go to Mass? I guess you could say grace before eating, or pray, or whatever else goes on that I'm just not privy too. But when you celebrate Chanukah, you light the menorah while reciting a specific prayer (and in Hebrew, no less). I'm not even a religious person -- like, at all -- but I like that I can be Jewish in such an easy, low-key way. One Hebrew sentence, a handful of candles, and I'm good to go.

8. It teaches you to go with the flow. Chanukah's date corresponds to the Jewish calendar, so for those of us who use the Gregorian calendar, it falls on a different date every year. Last year the first night was on Thanksgiving. This year, the last day is Christmas Eve. Sometimes it's earlier, sometimes it runs until after Christmas. And there's nothing you can do about it! Sorry, type-A planners, but you'll just have to deal with a month less of gift prep time! And you always, always have to go to school or work during Chanukah. If you're lucky it'll overlap with Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas Eve/Day, but if not? Bummer. Schedule your family get-together on the first night or the last night or some random night that falls over the weekend. There's no sense in getting uptight about it.

BONUS: there is absolutely no reason to put together a Chanukah gift guide post!

Tonight I'll be watching Miracle and eating latkes. I'm pretty excited about it. :) Happy Chanukah, friends!

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Last week, the hashtag #StudyAbroadBecause was trending on Twitter. Now, in case you're new around these parts, it's probably important that you know that I had the most amazing study abroad experience. So it wasn't too hard for me to think of something to contribute to that conversation.

But another important thing to know about me is that I love words. Confining my answer to a single tweet is just not gonna fly, especially because I'm so aggressively pro-study abroad. And I've been meaning to make a list like this anyway, so this is a perfect excuse!

#StudyAbroadBecause it makes everything real. You may learn about the Holocaust in history classes, but walking through a concentration camp teaches you about it in an entirely new way.

#StudyAbroadBecause you need to learn that where you currently live isn't the center of the universe. I'm looking at you, Americans -- we may think we're a really big deal, and maybe we are, but people across the pond really don't care. In fact, being an American is often looked at as being a negative thing. We have a very inflated viewpoint of how America factors into things internationally, and there's nothing like transplanting yourself into a new country to take that down a few notches.

#StudyAbroadBecause if you want to live in another country, this is the best way to do it. Take it from someone who tried to stay abroad while no longer a student there; it's all but impossible. Unless you marry a foreigner or want to teach English, it's incredibly difficult to get a job or a visa or... anything, really. Go as a student.

#StudyAbroadBecause experiences > grades. I didn't learn this until I was living in London and was faced with the choice to study for finals or work a volunteer shift for London 2012 Ceremonies. Guys, London 2012 won every single time, and my life is a thousand times better for it. I think I may've gotten a B in one of my classes. Bummer?

#StudyAbroadBecause it makes "YOLO" relevant. Camp out for a movie premiere because this is your only chance to. Backpack through Europe because this is your only chance to. Take advantage of every second in your home city because when will you ever be living there again? GO DO EVERYTHING.

#StudyAbroadBecause even if it sucks, you benefit. Hate the location you chose? Hate the people in your program? Hate being broke? It might be rough in the moment, but in the long run? You become a stronger person, and it'll make you realize how much adversity you can handle.

#StudyAbroadBecause if it doesn't suck, there is literally nothing better. You'll make amazing friends and see places you've dreamed about visiting since you were 11 and dive head-first into your passions and become more independent and intelligent and open-minded. You may even pick up a tea habit (um, guilty).

#StudyAbroadBecause it'll change your life.

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: USA vs. Sweden

Miracle Monday

Are you ready to get these Olympic games going?! After the debacle I talked about last week, it'll certainly be much more fun from here on out! Unless, of course, you don't think winning is fun. ;)

USA vs. Sweden at the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games


What: USA 2 - 2 SWE

Who: Dave Silk (assists: Mike Ramsey, Mark Johnson)
         Bill Baker (assists: Mark Pavelich, Buzz Schneider)


+ This game took place the day before the opening ceremony. Between this and the fact that the U.S. team wasn't given much of a chance in hell at winning much of anything meant that the arena was far from full and pretty quiet. But as the game went on the fans slowly got louder (and there's actually a really neat story behind that!), and home ice advantage started coming into play. And from there on out, all games were standing room only.

Buzz Schneider scored a goal in the first period that ended up not counting, as he was called offsides. However, it's eerily similar to the goal he eventually goes on to score against the Soviets -- the exact same long slapshot from almost the exact same spot. Makes you wonder what kind of magic Buzz had behind that shot! :) The fact that he even shot in the first place caused a little bit of anger in the Swedish camp, as he was very clearly offsides and chose to take the shot anyway. But this was a great indicator of how this team played: you hustle until you hear a whistle.

+ If you've seen Miracle, you may remember that this game was the backdrop for Herb exploding at Rob McClanahan in the locker room between periods and accusing him of wimping out because his leg was bruised. That did actually happen in real life, and by all accounts was significantly worse than what the movie portrayed (it IS a Disney movie, after all). By going after Mac, Herb was trying to light a fire under the team, as the first period was seriously lackluster... and it worked. Early in the third period, Ken Dryden even comments on how markedly the U.S. had improved after the first period and a half. And if you watch the bench during the game, you'll notice Mac standing behind it; the pain in his leg was so bad that he couldn't sit down, so he spent his rest time stretching and trying to shake it out.

+ Dave Silk scored the first goal of the Olympics for the Americans. According to the commentators on the Canadian broadcast, he was the best player on the ice for the U.S. as he not only scored but also had numerous other chances. And thus began his ascent through the lineup; he played this game on the fourth line, but was so impressive that by the end of the Olympics, he was on the first line. This goal wasn't pretty by any means -- he and Mark Johnson actually almost get tangled up in each other -- but it sure got the job done.

+ Of course, I'd be completely remiss if I didn't mention Bill Baker's heroic last second goal to tie the game! The hilarious thing is that he hadn't even really been trying to score. The play started with a face-off in the Swedish end, and Bill ended up getting a pass. He didn't want it, so he wrapped the puck around the boards behind the net so it could be taken by someone else. But the play ends up taking it right back around, and this time when a pass came in his direction he decided to just get it on net, because maybe there'd be a rebound someone could knock in. But the shot went in, Bill became a hero and they all lived happily ever after! Seriously though, one of the most important goals scored by the U.S. was scored by complete accident. Equal parts amusing and awesome? Yes. :)


Do you want to hear something amazing? As far as I can find, this game wasn't broadcast in its entirety anywhere. Because 1) Olympic coverage back in the day was even lamer than it is now, 2) the U.S. wasn't supposed to do anything interesting so why bother, and 3) hockey wasn't a particularly popular sport in America yet. On the DVDs I have, there are a handful of minutes of highlights from the American broadcast (seriously, there's maybe 15 minutes in total), and first and second period highlights plus the full third period from the Canadian broadcast. So if you want to watch the full game... well, so do I. You can, however, watch the last 41 seconds of play -- including Bill's goal! -- HERE. :)

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My Colorado Bucket List Strikes Back

Remember my Colorado bucket list from last year? Last December I moved back to New York when my internship ended and therefore slapped a "done" stamp on that list. A month later I was back in Colorado, but never got around to creating a new Colorado bucket list -- I was a little bit preoccupied with all things Sochi 2014. And then weeks turned into months turned into almost a full year later... and I finally think it's time to get round two going.

The only thing is that I still don't know how long I'm going to be here. Will I still be living here when the weather warms up again? Don't know! So this'll be a baby-sized bucket list, just of things I can do in winter weather. (I'm certainly not visiting Cave of the Winds or hiking Pike's Peak or going to the zoo while it's below freezing outside.) Hopefully there'll be another Colorado bucket list created for the warm-weather seasons, but for now, I'm using this as motivation to hold myself accountable and get my butt out of my apartment this winter!

1. Go on a walking tour in Denver. I did five walking tours in five different cities while I was in Europe, but I've never done one in an American city. It's high time to change that! Unfortunately most of the walking tours I've found are self-guided or aren't running during the winter, so I'll either have to wait a bit or suck it up and guide myself. We'll see. Either way, I've spent some time in Denver (the botanic gardens and LoDo), but not nearly enough. It seems like such a cool city, and I definitely need a good chunk of time to walk around and explore a bit!

2. GO TO AN AVALANCHE GAME. The caps lock is extremely necessary, because at this point I've been in Colorado Springs for parts of THREE NHL seasons and have not yet been to a game. And after a year and a half of being a Colorado resident, I have fully adopted the Avs as my team. So it's absolutely required to get myself some merch and get my butt to a game. I really wish Denver wasn't an hour away, 'cause that's kind of a schlep for a game, but I WILL make it happen.

3. Go to a Colorado College hockey game. I got to experience every other major college sport while I was at Miami, but I (obviously) never got the Division I hockey experience (though we did have a pretty decent club team!) I went to a CC game last year with some friends and it was super fun! And if I complain about the Avs playing too far away to be convenient... well, CC plays at the World Arena right in Colorado Springs. If I want to see a hockey game, it doesn't get any more convenient than that.

4. Tour Glen Eyrie castle. Did you know there's a castle in Colorado Springs? Because there's a castle in Colorado Springs. I think it's more of a mansion than an actual castle in the strictest sense, but it's called Glen Eyrie Castle and it's right by Garden of the Gods and I MUST GO SEE IT. I haven't seen a castle since 2012. Let's fix that.

I think I like the concept of a bite-sized bucket list: short, sweet, and totally doable in the next few months! Now I just need to wrangle some friends into doing things with me. Any takers? :)

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London Love Affair

Flags. One of my lasting memories of my first trip to London is the flags.

It was the summer of 2004, and in less than a year the International Olympic Committee would be choosing the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games. London was one of the cities bidding (spoiler alert: it won), and the city was draped in London 2012 flags.

As a 13-year-old taking her first steps on the journey to full-blown Olympics obsessiveness -- six months removed from an Olympics-themed Bat Mitzvah! -- I was thrilled with this little detail, and filed it away in my memory, where it has remained even a decade later.

I have very few specific memories from that trip anymore, but I remember the flags and the way London wormed its way into my heart. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I know that I left the city with a slow-burning desire to go back.

Flash forward to 2011. I finished my sophomore year of college, started my junior year, and couldn't decide where to study abroad. Thanks to a bunch of AP credits and no gen ed requirements, I didn't have to take any required classes overseas and therefore had almost total freedom when it came to choosing a program. The study abroad office, bless its heart, offered me zero help in narrowing down my options. I toyed with the idea of Germany for awhile, or maybe Denmark... but then it hit me. If the Olympics are going to London in 2012, shouldn't I be going to London in 2012?

Um, duh?

I applied to an exchange program Miami has with Queen Mary, University of London, and got accepted. I applied for a study abroad scholarship designed to fund anything but program expenses; I got it and suddenly had $5,000 on which to backpack through Europe. I applied for a student visa instead of just getting stamped with a visitor visa upon entrance to the U.K., because I wanted to be able to work... and it was a miserable, stressful process that I shed many tears over, but I got approved and my passport was sent back to me with an official-looking sticker in it. But most excitingly, I applied to be a London 2012 Ceremonies volunteer.

My plane didn't even have to touch down at Heathrow for me to know I'd made the right decision. Two or three weeks before my departure, I was on my laptop with my parents Google mapping the area around my future school. We checked out which tube stations were nearby, what the grocery store situation was, if there was a pharmacy in the vicinity... all that practical stuff. The conversation turned to exploring the city and the potential for getting lost. And I said, with complete confidence, without even thinking twice about it, "Oh, as long as I can get myself to a tube station I'll be totally fine."

Keep in mind, this was a city I hadn't set foot in in seven and a half years. And when I'd been there the first time, I was 13 and my grandparents did all the navigating. But for some reason, after just a quick glance at a tube map, I was 100% sure in my ability to handle myself just fine. (It bears mentioning that the New York City subway map doesn't inspire that level of confidence in me. Not even close, actually. And I'm AWFUL at directions and finding my way around. So believe me when I say that this level of confidence in how I would get around London was truly bizarre.)

Friends who take creeper pictures occasionally come in handy. ;)

But that premonition was completely correct. On my very first evening there I was walking a mile down the road off campus in search of a converter, completely by myself. I learned the tube map like nobody's business and felt free to wander around the city, because I'd been right: as long as I eventually found my way to a station, I couldn't get lost. It was SO freeing! So I explored and tried new foods and made amazing friends and saw all the iconic London sites (and a whole lot that are off the beaten path).

And I was chosen as a London 2012 Ceremonies volunteer. So eight years after I was a newly-minted teenager all wide-eyed over the London 2012 candidate city flags, I was a college junior with my picture on a London 2012 ID badge and my name in the opening ceremony program. And I got to walk around during the Games and see the London 2012 host city flags, displayed proudly in every color of the rainbow.

How's THAT for coming full circle?

London and I have come a really long way in our relationship. I was there as a new adult in the eyes of the Jewish community, when I thought fizzy lemonade was the weirdest thing ever, and I was there when I became an adult in the eyes of America's legal drinking age... and, okay, I still thought fizzy lemonade was the weirdest thing ever. I was there to watch the beginning of London's Olympic journey, and I was there to watch its culmination. I'm happier and more comfortable there than anywhere else in the world; being there is easy and simultaneously exciting, and I just feel like myself.

So until I get seriously wooed by a man, I think it's safe to say that London has been the big, sweeping love story in my life. And you know what? I don't hate it.

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: USA vs. USSR Exhibition

Miracle Monday

Hello there, ladies and germs, and welcome back for another Miracle Monday!

Just speaking from my own personal experience, I always enjoy watching a sport more when I know a little bit about the athletes. When I care about the person behind the number, I'm much more invested in his/her success. So now that I'm done introducing you all to the full roster of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, we can take a tour through the final eight games they played together! Beforehand, hearing that, say, Neal Broten scored a goal might not've meant anything to you. But now it should be much more exciting, since now you know he looked and sounded like a 12-year-old little nugget. :)

So, moving forward! This first game we've got here is the final game of the team's exhibition schedule, just a few days before its first Olympic contest: against the Soviet Union at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This baby was featured briefly (but memorably) in Miracle, as it was both a crushing loss and where Jack O'Callahan injured his knee. So hey, yeah, this is a fun one. And by "fun" I mean... well, just keep reading.

1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team vs. USSR exhibition game Madison Square Garden


What: USSR 10 - 3 USA

Who: Mike Eruzione (assist: Steve Christoff)
        Phil Verchota (assists: Mark Pavelich, Ken Morrow)
        Steve Christoff (assists: Dave Silk, Mark Johnson)


+ Jim Craig makes his first save approximately 17 seconds into the game, if that gives you any indication as to how this is going to go. Jim made a lot of good saves, actually. Things eventually went south (um, obviously, look at the final score), but most of the goals Jim gave up were ones he really couldn't do much about.

+ Sticking with our goaltenders for a second... in Miracle, Herb makes a really big deal about how Jim let in 10 goals. But actually, halfway through the game Jim was taken out and Steve Janaszak got to play, so only about half of those goals were on Jim's conscience. Herb had planned this switch in advance, in order to keep Jim's abilities a bit of a secret from the Soviets, as well as to keep him from getting mentally bogged down in whatever went on in that game, and also as one final mental game with his starting goalie (that much Miracle did get right!). And it's probably not the most shining example of Janny's goaltending (again, just look at the final score), but it's great to actually get to see him play!

+ Leave it to the Coneheads (Mark Pavelich, John Harrington and Buzz Schneider) to have the first legitimate scoring opportunity for the Americans! :) Even when everything kind of sucks, those three could always manage to get something going. Herb put them into games to act as an offensive spark when nothing was really happening, and it's easy to see why.

+ Mike Eruzione's goal is eerily similar to his eventual game-winner in the Olympic rematch; same shot off the wrong foot, same use of a defenseman as a screen. At the time the goal was scored, that obviously meant nothing, but in hindsight it's kind of prophetic!

+ The beginning of the third period was a little glimmer of hope; the Soviets still dominated play but there was no scoring for a good while (and Phil Verchota scored for the Americans!), so it looked like the U.S. might've finally gotten things together a little bit. But then the Soviets scored several picture-perfect goals, and another couple of goals within a handful of seconds of each other, and things kind of unraveled. Mercifully Steve Christoff scored so things weren't completely awful in the second half of the period... but the Soviets scored again before the goal announcement was even over. And to add insult to injury, with only about a minute left, Phil and Eric Strobel slammed into each other and play had to be stopped as they got slowly to their feet. They were both fine, but the game really couldn't have ended on a worse note.


The full game is on YouTube HERE. There's no commentary, no commercials, no graphics... literally nothing. It must be some internal feed from Madison Square Garden or something like that. So in addition to the lackluster hockey, it's a bit of a struggle to follow. But it IS possible!

It took me being a fan of this team for a year and a half before I worked up the courage to watch this game. Hopefully seeing it in words is a little less painful! :)

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The Struggles Of Being A Quiet Person

Breaking news: I'm a quiet person. I like one-on-one interactions better than large groups, I only speak up when I feel like I have something to contribute, and I'm perfectly content to sit in silence.

In this world that values things like being loud and making yourself heard, being quiet can be quite the struggle. If I had a nickel for every time I've side-eyed someone because of an incorrect or otherwise insensitive comment about my lack of talking, I wouldn't have any student loans left to pay off. I most certainly talk! Become my friend and there's a good chance that at some point I'll yap on and on to you about something you're not even really interested in (which is why I created this blog, let's be honest)!

Basically, being quiet often means being misunderstood, underestimated or flat out overlooked. Quiet friends, I KNOW you'll feel me on these!

And suddenly that Photobooth selfie I took while working (read: procrastinating) in the QMUL library comes in handy!

+ "How come you never talk?" Bonus: this (and other versions of the same sentiment) is always said by someone I've just recently met. Excuse me, borderline stranger, but has it crossed your mind that I'm not being Chatty Cathy because I don't feel comfortable with you yet? That maybe if we were friends I'd have no problem talking your ear off? How about you spend more than 10 minutes in my presence before judging my talkativeness? Or maybe -- stay with me here -- I just don't have anything to say at the moment! If you're talking about something I don't understand or don't have much of an interest in, I'm not going to flap my gums just for the sake of hearing my own voice. So be a dear and don't assume I'm a mute based on this one single environment you've seen me in.

+ Louder people get all the credit. My first time in London, I was on the tube with my grandparents and cousin Molly, and we were heading to Buckingham Palace. We'd been on the train for several minutes when I looked up at the map and realized we were going the wrong way. So I said, "We're going the wrong way." Molly, who was sitting next to me, heard what I said and exclaimed, "We're going the wrong way!" It was only then that my grandparents heard, and they ushered us off the train and began thanking Molly profusely for noticing that we were headed in the wrong direction. Luckily this was a pretty inane situation, as we promptly burst out laughing and Molly gave me all the credit for noticing and I gave her all the credit for being loud (our differences make us a great team!). We still joke about this regularly. But in a more important situation, in which getting credit for a job well done is actually important, and when you're not dealing with someone willing to give it to you? Um, that's a problem.

+ People assume you have no personality. LOL, this one might be my favorite. Just because I'm not constantly word-vomiting my personality all over you from the get-go doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Not all quiet people have the personality of a wet dishrag. Most of us have quite a lot going on underneath the surface; the phrase "it's always the quiet ones you've got to watch out for" is a thing for a reason. I've heard people say things in surprise like, "...oh wow, you're feisty!" numerous times, and each time I've been equal parts amused and miffed. Don't let the glasses and soft-spoken demeanor fool you, my friends. I won't take your crap, am more sarcastic than is socially appropriate and can cuss like a sailor.

+ "You're so shy!" Alright, let's clear this up: introverted, quiet and shy are three different things. They often go together, sure, but they're not mutually exclusive. Introverted means being introspective, and being energized by being alone rather than in social situations. Quiet means not talking very much. Shy means being timid and self-conscious around other people. I, personally, am probably about 100% introverted, 50% quiet, and 25% shy. My being quiet often has very little to do with being shy, and I'm perfectly capable of (and, in fact, greatly enjoy) friendly small-talk with random strangers in public places. So just because I'm not saying anything doesn't mean I'm afraid to speak up. #TheMoreYouKnow

But hey, there's at least one benefit of being quiet: when you do open your mouth, people are more inclined to take you seriously!

Quiet folks, do you agree with me on this? What comments and misconceptions have you faced?

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4 Things New York City Taught Me

I've been living away from home since August of 2009 (minus all breaks during college, but still), and if there's one thing that hasn't changed, it's that coming home to New York feels really, really good. I grew up in a suburb in the shadow of New York City, and as I've gotten older I've realized how stinking lucky I was to have the city a mere 45 minute train ride away for 18 years of my life. Now that I'm living 1,800+ miles away, I appreciate every rushed, harried second I get to spend there.

It hit me on Friday as I was rushing (shocker!) to make my train home that spending so much time in New York City has given me a slightly different perspective on life than what some of my friends have. And whether you come to visit or to live, I definitely thing a trip to the ol' Big Apple should be on everyone's to-do list because of what your time here will teach you!

1. Anything is possible. And I don't even mean this in the "if I can make it there I'll make it anywhere," "concrete jungle where dreams are made of" way (even though that's also completely true). I mean that, in New York City, you can literally do anything. Want to get Thai food at 2 a.m.? Go for it. See some of the most esteemed works of art in the world and then get a tattoo in a sketchy shop? Sure. It's a sports fan's dream, the theater capital of the world, foodie paradise, fashionista heaven... I could go on. It's a great reminder that, if you want to do something... you've just gotta do it. Simple as that. Sky's the limit. Everything's out there. The only thing stopping you is you.

2. You are in charge of yourself. Even if you're in the city with a group of people, it's really up to you to make sure you don't lose them. Crowds don't care. People will pickpocket you (ughhh let's not talk about it). Nobody's going to offer you help -- you have to ask for it. I think the city gives you an incredible sense of independence: you don't need to rely on anyone or anything. No car? Cool (and great decision), take the subway. Subway isn't running? Walk. Don't know where you're going? Avenues run uptown/downtown and streets run east side/west side, so figure it out. You're not going to be coddled, but you're going to be able to handle it and you'll gain a great sense of self in the process.

3. Walk fast. And if you don't want to walk fast, get your slow butt out of the way so that people who do want to walk fast can walk fast. (If you ever wonder why I'm 5'2" but blowing past you on these short legs of mine, here's your answer. But for real, this is NOT a difficult concept. Slow walkers need to get. out. of. my. way.)

4. You are a very, very small cog in a very, very big wheel. This may make some people feel a little bit (or a lot) overwhelmed and lost, but I find it to be SO liberating. Why? Nobody cares! Wear that weird thing you want to wear, look like a fool sprinting to catch your train, give that rude stranger some side-eye, frolick through the fields in Central Park... you have a complete free pass to just be yourself, because even when you stick out, it just makes you a quirky footnote in this giant bizarre novel of a city. This holds true for anywhere (though I've never lived in a small town, so I can't speak for that). But really, the world isn't going to stop and look at you to cheer your successes or judge your failures, so just do your thing!

New York, I love you. Thanks for teaching me how to figure out a subway system and shove my way through a crowd and be my own person. See you again in less than a month! :)

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: The Book List

Miracle Monday

Now that our grand tour through the roster (and then some) of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team has (regretfully) come to an end, I thought I'd take today to introduce you all to where I got most of my information! Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a stalker, so no, none of this information was gathered by hand. But if there's one thing that journalism school taught me how to do (besides, y'know, write), it's research. (Though journalism school did teach me how to stalk appropriately, too. We had a stalking assignment and everything. But that's beside the point.)

No, everything I wrote that wasn't directly linked back to an article came from a book. I've come a long way from that night late in 2012 when I was watching Miracle and thought, "hey, this is an awesome story. I wonder if there are any books about it." Nowadays? I've got a veritable library going on, folks. And here's your guide to it! :)

books about the 1980 U.S. olympic hockey team miracle on ice

The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey: I've already reviewed this bad boy (see here!), and can't recommend it enough. It's the first title Google spit out when I first began my quest to know all the things about this team, and for good reason: it's definitely the most current, overall comprehensive book of the bunch. While it definitely has some significant gaps, especially in terms of word count devoted to each player, it's a fabulous place to start.

Going for the Gold by Tim Wendel: This was my second book purchase after I devoured Boys of Winter several times, and it's incredibly enjoyable. It's a pretty quick and easy read, and does a good job filling in some of the gaps Boys of Winter has. It was written in 1981 by a beat reporter that covered the team during the pre-Olympic season. So while Boys of Winter has lots of in-depth information about the Olympics and their lives in the following decades, Going for the Gold gives you all sorts of fun anecdotes and information about that pre-Olympic season (emphasis on "fun"!). It highlights a handful of players more in-depth but doesn't really attempt to get to all of them; guys that Wendel mentioned were his friends definitely got the bulk of the attention. So it's significantly less comprehensive, but it gives you a great picture of what the team dynamic felt like and will definitely have you chuckling. :)

Miracle on Ice by The New York Times: Okay, how cool is this? Almost immediately after the 1980 Olympics wrapped up, The New York Times compiled all of their stories about the U.S. hockey team into this book. That's all it is: newspaper stories. Considering I wrote my undergrad honors thesis on the Times' Olympic coverage through the years, I'm very much geekily in love with this book. It's incredibly cool to watch the stories progress from "unless the ice melts or a miracle occurs, the Soviets will win the gold medal" to "well hey, the U.S. is actually doing okay!" to "holy $#!* what did we just witness?!" to "THOSE ARE OUR ALL-AMERICAN BOYS!!" At one point, a Soviet player is compared to a squirt of ketchup. It's so great. And it cost me one cent on Amazon. So you should get it.

Remembering Herbie by Ross Bernstein: This book is (obviously) more specifically about Herb Brooks than it is the Miracle team, but the two are so indelibly entwined. It was written by a reporter that was working extremely closely with Herb before he passed away, and he put this book together (obviously) in memoriam. Basically, he interviewed almost 100 people who were close to Herb, asking them all the same questions, and compiled the book almost in a Q&A style: the question is the heading, and then each person's answer is quoted underneath. It makes it a little hard to follow when you're unfamiliar with some of the interviewees (*raises hand*), and it does get a little bit long in the tooth at times. But it's really, really cool to get direct quotes from players about their relationship with Herb, and to sort of see him from their perspective. I recommend this book with a warning, though. There are numerous spelling, grammar and factual errors, and there were many times that I was so frustrated with it that I had to react out loud. (Luckily my roommate wasn't home, or she probably would've wondered why I was looking up at the ceiling and groaning obnoxiously.) Bernstein self-published, and I don't know if that's completely to blame for the book's sloppiness, but either way, you have been warned!

America's Coach by Ross Bernstein: I seriously debated lumping both of Bernstein's books together, because they feel very much like a set. This one is biographical, though, so you get a narrative of Herb's life. All of the quotes he used (I'm pretty sure) were also in Remembering Herbie, so there's not a ton of new stuff in terms of that. However, it was really interesting to get a bit of a timeline of Herb's life (it was all kind of fuzzy for me after 1980!) and a look at what made him who he was. But the same warning stands as with Remembering Herbie: beware of errors.

Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind by John Gilbert: Oh man, I have a very volatile love/hate relationship with this book (which is another one about Herb). I'll start with the bad, I guess. The author is a hockey reporter that wrote extensively about Herb through the years, which led to an apparently exclusive relationship, one-on-one interviews during the Olympics, special access, what-have-you. While that does mean good things in terms of information, it also left Gilbert with a very holier-than-thou tone in his writing. It's abundantly clear that he thinks he knows absolutely everything when it comes to Herb and USA Hockey and the Olympic team, and while I was reading I constantly felt like I was being talked down to. It was beyond aggravating, especially when some of the things he wrote were wrong. (And I'm not saying that to be a know-it-all. When he references Miracle and quotes it incorrectly, that's something absolutely anyone could realize!) That being said, though, lets move onto the good! Guys, this book contains so many fabulous stories about this team! Oh man. Truly, it's full of wonderful. There's all sorts of stuff about the players, from their college days, the 1978 National Sports Festival, 1979 worlds, the 1979 National Sports Festival, all the way through the Olympics and beyond! (Herb coached Pav on the Rangers, and I cannot even tell you how much joy this book brought me in terms of talking about their relationship. It was a very joyous, emotional experience.) So I dog-eared the hell out of this book, despite the absolute rage it brought on. So I definitely recommend it... I just can't recommend the author.

Gold Medal Strategies by Jim Craig: Guys, I love Jim Craig. Have we covered that yet? ;) I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book; sure, it's co-authored, but I had no idea if Jim was any kind of decent writer. And it's a business book, so I was a little afraid it would be kind of dry. But honestly? Jim is not a "dry" kind of person! His writing has a very authentic, distinct voice, and was familiar to the point that it felt like it was a chat with a friend. A very knowledgable and business-minded friend, sure, but someone who wasn't going to shy away from cracking a joke. I was obviously more interested in the Olympic stories and the anecdotes about his teammates, so I found the interludes about various businesses and brands to be less than thrilling. However, like I said, it never got stale. I was plenty entertained throughout, and he told some great stories that had me literally laughing out loud. It's also incredibly cool to hear how Jim feels about some of his 1980 teammates, straight from his own mouth. :)

One Goal by John Powers and Art Kaminsky: I'm just going to be flat-out honest here and say that I absolutely freaking adore this book. I have no idea why it took me so long to finally read it (October of this year! Seriously, what the heck?)! Not only does it devote approximately equal time to each player -- which is so beyond wonderful, I can't even begin to tell you -- but it also goes in-depth about youth hockey in the regions where these guys all came from, so you get an idea of where they came from and how they each worked their way up. Um, amazing. And if you want laugh-out-loud stories from the pre-Olympic season, you want this book. It's a complete all-around winner. You'll go in thinking you know who your favorite players are, and by the time you're done you'll be even more in love with your original favorites and be newly obsessed with like eight more. It's well-written and hilarious and you should absolutely read it.

Jim Craig is in the process of writing another book (!!!) so there'll be more to this list in the future, but that's all for now. Go forth and read! :)
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