Miracle Monday: Best "Behind the Scenes" Stories

Well, I did not intend to skip writing a third post last week. But suddenly it was Saturday and my motivation level was hovering right around 0%. It's been raining/hailing/snowing for a week and I seem to have turned into a vegetable. You know how it goes.

Anyway, onto the topic at hand! I talk pretty frequently about how the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team was basically a group of ridiculous children (emphasis on ridiculous), but I've never really shared much evidence of that, have I? While I have the utmost respect for all of them as hockey players, some of the best stuff happened off the ice. "Behind the scenes," if you will. So today I'm sharing a few stories that had me rolling on the floor laughing. :)

Do you see this? What did I tell you? Ridiculous children.

+ If you've seen Miracle, you know that Herb had each player take a lengthy psychology test after they made the team. Well, they reacted just like you'd expect a group of college-aged boys to react when told to take a test. Most of them said WTF but filled it out -- because, after all, this was just the kind of thing Herb Brooks did. There was a camp that thought it was a good joke: Mike Ramsey, for one, filled out half of his before giving it to his roommates with a, "You know me. Just put down whatever you think I would." Then there was the group that was worried about it: Dave Silk's dilemma was, "I've always had a reputation for being a little bit twisted. What if I fill this thing out and it shows that I secretly want to kill my coach?" So he stuffed his questionnaire in his suitcase and decided he'd say it was in the mail if Herb ever asked about it. And then there was Jim Craig, who maintains that he just plain didn't take it.

+ A bunch of guys have talked about how much fun their various team parties were, and besides the Christmas party (which I love), there's one in particular that's been written about: Bill Baker's birthday. It was soon after Thanksgiving, so Bill prepared some pheasants and Buzz Schneider's wife cooked a turkey, plus there was birthday cake and someone decided it was a good idea to put Jack O'Callahan in charge of the punch. Plus, y'know, beer. Probably too much beer. Because around one in the morning, people started flinging pheasant bones and cake, and Bob Suter and Mark Pavelich started pouring beer over Mike Eruzione's head. Rizzo flipped, pissed because he'd brought his girlfriend and got this aggravation for his trouble. So his storming out was accompanied with, "C'mon, Donna. We're outta here." But when he arrived at the locker room for practice the next morning, he was greeted with a "full falsetto chorus: 'We're outta heah Donnah, we're outta heah Donnah.'" And that became a rallying cry.

Lol, confirmed by Dave Silk! I'm still waiting patiently for stories about Pav playing guitar, though.

+ During the Olympics, instead of staying in the actual Olympic village, the team was housed four-apiece in trailers pushed up next to each other. The walls were apparently so thin that they could hear what was going on next door. So at one point during the Games (nobody seems to be sure of the exact timing, but most likely after the gold medal game), John Harrington snuck his then-girlfriend (now wife of 30-plus years) into his trailer for the night, and everybody knew about it. His roommates were Buzz Schneider and Mark Pavelich, and next door were Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, Bill Baker and Phil Verchota. Every night, because the walls were so thin, they would say goodnight to each other a la The Waltons; “Goodnight, Pav. Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Buzz. Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Mark. Goodnight, Pav.” So on this night, Rizzo goes, "Goodnight, Mary." And you hear this little voice, "Goodnight, Mike." (Will there ever be a day this doesn't make me laugh? Probably not, lol. Read the original telling of the story here!)

+ Alright, I saved my personal favorite for last: the infamous Christmas tree prank. Around Christmas of 1979, there was a sort of tune-up tournament in Lake Placid. Rob McClanahan and Mark Johnson were sharing a room and decided to be festive and decorate and get a little Christmas tree. All was well... until the tree mysteriously vanished. And Mac completely flipped out about it (because, if you missed the memo, Mac was a touch high-strung). Nobody knew who had taken it, but clues were written on the blackboard in the locker room every day for a week. At the end of that week, someone spotted something floating in the late that looked suspiciously like the missing tree. Mac flipped out again, providing some great entertainment for his teammates, but that was the end of it. The trail went cold. The mystery went unsolved for 35 years, with no suspects. But that all changed when Dave Christian got on Twitter.

I cannot even describe how hard I was laughing as this conversation unfolded. I'm onto you, Dave.

(Also, most of these stories are credited to One Goal [click for my review]. I love it a lot. You should totally read it.)
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