Thursday, April 5, 2012
Really, the only shortcomings to this book were that I wish Coffey would've talked more about the final games in the Olympics. He talked about the USA and USSR game alot, but really didn't go into detail about the gold medal game.
I think that the most praiseworthy part of the book was Coffey’s style of writing. I really liked how he kept switching between present day, Brooks’ funeral service, and the Olympic games. It made the book more interesting because it showed how much respect the players had for Brooks, even 20 years or so after the games.
The main theme of this book was determination. Brooks always taught his team that they should never be afraid of a team, even when they clearly were better than them. This method, or coaching style, turned out to be successful in the long run when the US team beat Russia, who was supposed to demolish the Americans.
Three major incidents:
1) In the years before the Olypmic games, team U.S.A lost to the USSR 28-7, which lowered the morals of the team going into the game against them .
2) In the weeks prior to the games, team U.S.A lost to the St. Louis Blues 9-1 (NHL) and also to the Adirondack Red Wings 1-0 (AHL). Both of these losses were heart breaking to the team when they were supposed to enter the Olympics in less than two weeks.
3) Jim Craig didn’t take the test that Herb Brooks passed out. This then led to an argument between the two, which really is what Brooks wanted the whole time: a player that would not be afraid to be his own person and do everything that his coach told him.
This book was created in remembrance of Herb Brooks. The story starts with the story of Brooks’ funeral service. The mood, however, was mostly joyous. The tone could not be described better than a quote in the book by Jim Craig, “Being in that goal on Friday night was the pinnacle of my athletic life, the greatest joy I have ever known as a hockey player.”
“Inside the cathedral doors, someone had put up a large poster of the 1980 Olympic team,” Although you may see this as disrespectful, however no one said a word. That is how important hockey was in Brooks’ life, enough to have a picture of the teams he coached.
At the end of the book, it says that Brooks sent out an eight paragraph, customized, letter to each player. One of the most important and meaningful phrases told the players to try the hardest in everything they do, and to achieve their dreams. It read, “This year was a challenge to all of us. A challenge go: live and work as a unit. Play a positeive—in a creative way. And make the most of our dreams.
This year, I have read two non-fictional books; The Boys of Winter and Memories of Heaven: Memories of Hell. They have completely different plots, one being in the middle of war, and the other the Olympic Games. Now, when I first read this question, I had no idea how I was going to find similarities, but then I sat down and thought about it. It is actually quite simple, the answer I came up with: determination. Both the U.S Olympic Hockey team was determined to win the gold medal game, and the author of the last book, George J. Trebonyak, was determined for his platoon and himself to make it out of war safe.
The most important element in the book is character. The book is mostly written about Herb Brooks, and how he chose his team. He didn’t base his selection on who could score the most goals, or who was the flashiest player, however, Brooks chose those who he knew would work the hardest and best together as a team. Another example of character would be that the Americans knew the Russians were favored to win, they never gave up. Although there was many other important elements, such as time (political turmoil with Russia) and events (Olympic games in general), I believe that character is the most important.