Admit it: Whenever you embark on networking you hope (even deep down inside) that your actions and activities connect you to someone or something that leads you to wondrous (almost miraculous) results. This, then, begs the question – using sport announcer Al Michaels famous call – do you believe in miracles?…which is a wonderful segue into a great sports story.
During the height of the cold war, the Soviet Union built a hockey dynasty. Beginning in the early 60’s, the Soviet national hockey team was virtually unbeatable at the amateur level. They had won every Olympic gold medal since the 1964 games, overpowering every opponent in the process. The Soviet hockey machine even held its own against professionals, basically tying the NHL All-Stars in a multi-game series.
With the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games fast approaching, the Soviet hockey team was again the favorite for gold. In fact, they expected to manhandle the competition as much of their veteran 1976 Gold Medal team was back.
While potential rivals were mentioned – teams like Sweden, Czechoslovakia and West Germany – this was merely done in an attempt to create a meager amount of intrigue for the event. In short, there was no one that gave any one much of a chance against the Soviet hockey juggernaut, least of all the United States.
In fact, the young American team – comprised of mere college players and NHL long shots – was given no chance against the Soviet squad. Further bolstering this conclusion was the fact that the Soviet Union had pounded the Americans 10-3 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden the week before the start of the Olympic games.
Despite the long odds, the Americans faced off against the Soviets in the opening game of the medal round.
Despite being outmatched, the Americans met every challenge posed by the Soviets.
Despite being out shot, the Americans found themselves tied with the Soviets half way through the third and final period.
On February 22, 1980, the long shot, out matched, out shot American team scored with 10 minutes to play to take a 4-3 lead against the Soviet Union. A lead they hung on to for the remainder of the game. As the final seconds ticked away, announcer Al Michaels exclaimed (as this country held its collective breath), “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? YES!
This remains as one of the most famous calls in sports broadcasting history. This performance touched the heart of America like no other. This victory served to galvanize the pride and patriotism of this country at a time when we needed it most.
This will be forever known as “The Miracle On Ice.”
This, however, was no miracle. There are no miracles in sports – God reserves these for parting of Red Seas and feeding thousands with a few fish.
The Miracle On Ice was no miracle; it was destiny.
The Americans may have lacked experience, but they did not lack a vision – Coach Herb Brooks clearly reinforced that from the moment the team was assembled.
The Americans may have been outmatched by the Soviet hockey army, but that never stopped them from believing – they knew that collectively they possessed a unique talent that would ensure their success.
The Americans may have been disregarded by everyone, but that did not dampen their commitment to put forth the necessary hard work.
The Miracle On Ice was simply destiny.
So what is the point? How does this relate to networking?
Simple. Networking is no different than sports. There are no miracles. This, however, does not mean that marvelous things cannot happen.
The lesson of the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey gold medal is simply that wondrous things can and will occur whenever you have the:
• Courage to have a consistent vision of what you want from your networking; and,
• Confidence to have an unwavering belief that your abilities are special and uniquely designed to add value within your network; and,
• Discipline to maintain an untiring work ethic to give to your network in the form of contacts, information and energy.
In summary, if you find and maintain this level of courage, confidence and discipline, one day your networking will yield you a “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?” kind of day.
This post is part of a monthly sports themed networking series entitled “The Huddle” by Frank Agin. Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and consults with individuals and businesses on how to become more successful through networking. He is the author of Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust to Create a Lifetime of Extraordinary Success. In addition to this professional development book, he is the author of a sport-related novel, Out of the Comfort Zone. He can be reached at [email protected]mspirit.com.