It was Friday, February 22, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York.
A group of young men laced up their skates in the locker room. In the air was a mixture of excitement, tension, nervousness and athletic balm.
No one expected anything special from the day. Well, no one outside of that locker room. However, the twenty young American hockey players and their coach believed they had the opportunity to make something significant happen that afternoon.
You see, it had been less than a year since these gentlemen had first been connected. For many, there was an intense rivalry that brought out their antagonistic emotions. For all, there was a youthful energy that needed to be redirected. And only one had even played on the US Olympic hockey team before.
There coach was a confrontational, in-your-face type of coach that drove his team hard in an effort to build their stamina. He was blatant at correcting any area in which they needed improvement. And he had very little tolerance for anything less than 100% effort from each man every day.
There was one other character trait about the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Coach, Herb Brooks that is interesting. He had the ability to connect with the hearts of those young men. He could stir their emotions.
According to Wayne Coffey, in his book, The Boys of Winter, Herb Brooks delivered the following statement to those young men in the minutes before they took the ice.
“You were born to be a hockey player. You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time.”
– Herb Brooks
[lightbox link=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Herb-Brooks.jpg” thumb=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Herb-Brooks.jpg” width=”229″ align=”left” title=”Herb Brooks” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]Take a look at this YouTube Video from the movie, Miracle, starring Kurt Russell. View Video
Something happened that day.
On that day, those men believed they had the ability to win. On that day, they believed that had the strength to pull off a major upset of the Soviet team. And on that day, their positive emotions of pride, patriotism and a sense of belonging connected with their logical game plan as to how to win.
And on that day – the US Olympic Hockey team accomplished what Sports Illustrated Magazine voted as the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.
They beat the powerhouse Soviet Union team.
How can we create that same type of moment in our lives – or in the lives or the organizations we lead?
More about that this week…
QUESTION: What evidence is there that your team has great loyalty to each other?