Hello again, Monday! Does anyone else feel like this weekend flew by? Sheesh. I could've used an extra day off today. But moving on.
One of the (ahem, many) things I wish Miracle had showed more of were the individual friendships on the team. There are so many great stories in there that aren't even touched on; beyond the development of the Jack O'Callahan/Rob McClanahan relationship, you don't really get much of a sense of their friendships at all. And that's really a shame because... well, see below. ;)
Neal and Dave grew up in nearby towns in northern Minnesota, playing hockey for high schools that are bitter rivals. Then Neal went to the University of Minnesota and Dave went to the University of North Dakota, so once again they were playing for schools with a crazy intense rivalry. But then they both made the Olympic team, and these lifelong rivals ended up as roommates for the year. And they became best friends. Aaaand 35+ years later, they're still super close and keep in touch at least every few weeks. (This is one of my favorite things in the world.)
Bill and Phil were best friends long before they made the Olympic team. They were in the same recruiting class at the University of Minnesota and spent four years as roommates. During their senior year they were captain and alternate captain together, and people called them "the Odd Couple." (Will there ever come a day when I don't laugh about this? Doubtful.) Then came the Olympic team, where they continued their roommate streak. Nowadays they live pretty close to each other, still chat on the phone regularly and meet up to hunt and fish together. Also? Their names rhyme. Truly a match made in best friend heaven!
Mac played for the University of Minnesota and Mark played for the University of Wisconsin, and Mac has been pretty open about the fact that he did NOT think he'd ever be able to befriend a Badger. But Herb appreciated how similar these two were and put them together on the first line, and the rest is sort of history. They were both at the top of the stat chart for the entire pre-Olympic season (and the Olympics). And what's truly heartwarming is that, whenever Mac is asked about something that happened during a game, his answer always includes something along the lines of, "Mark and I looked at each other, and..." This was true for post-game in 1980 and it's true for 2015. Their Olympic experiences were so completely intertwined. :)
Pav and OC, honestly, wouldn't have made this list if I hadn't seen them together at the 35th anniversary reunion. The players sat in numerical order, which obviously put #16 and #17 next to each other, and these two had their heads together the entire night. They barely stopped chatting, and it was noticeable to the point where my mom leaned over during the ceremony and asked me who Pav was sitting next to because they just kept talking. Considering Pav is known for being all but perpetually silent, this is a pretty big deal. Do they keep in touch? Are they close? I have no idea. But if you think about it, despite all their differences, they're incredibly similar; OC is loud and outspoken while Pav is incredibly private and quiet, but they're both always unapologetically true to themselves. There's got to be a huge level of understanding and respect there, and clearly they never run out of things to talk about!
Of course, these are just some of my personal favorite friendships. There are (obviously) many more, and I'm (obviously) in full support of all of them. :)