Sunday, February 21, 2010

30 years after "The Miracle on Ice"

In the long list of improbable and historic upsets in sports, at or near the top has to be the U.S.A. hockey team's gold-medal performance in the 1980 Olympics.

A bunch of amateurs -- college kids with an average age of 22 -- defeated the vaunted and veteran Soviets, considered the best team anywhere (amateur or professional) with a third-period rally in the semifinals. That game was played in Lake Placid, N.Y., 30 years ago tomorrow (Feb. 22, 1980).

Often forgotten is that the Americans had a rally again in the third period to beat Finland for the gold medal.

The victory, which occurred while the Cold War was still hot, was a huge source of patriotic pride. The chant "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" got its genesis there.

Hard to believe it's been 30 years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Archie Griffin interview highlights day

It has been a long week -- and it's only Wednesday morning -- but the highlight of my Tuesday was my brief telephone interview with Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner of college football's Heisman Trophy.

Griffin and I talked for about 10 minutes about the subject of my next book, Dubuque native Jay Berwanger, recipient of the first Heisman. Though their playing days were generations apart, the men enjoyed each other's company at annual Heisman events.

Griffin, who won the Heisman in 1974 and 1975 as an Ohio State running back, is president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc. He won a truckload of honors during his collegiate career, including The Sporting News Man of the Year award in 1975.

Berwanger, who won the Heisman in 1935, died in 2002. Griffin remembers the former University of Chicago star as "classy. That’s how I looked at Berwanger. A classy man. Well-respected.”

Thanks, Archie.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New-old heights

Our youngest, Greg, and his friend Justin took a winter vacation to Leadville, Colo., where his Uncle Tim and family live.

They made a climb of Mount Elbert, one of several "14-ers" in the area. Greg climbed it previously, in the summer of 2008.

Here's a photo of Greg (left) and Justin at the summit.