One of the great rites of summer for the sports fanatic is the pilgrimage: traveling to the great halls of sport to witness matches on hallowed ground. Here in the U.S., we think of Fenway Park, Churchill Downs, Daytona, and the Rose Bowl, among many others.
This being an Olympic year, I took my family to the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs, Colorado, just weeks before the main event in London. My three children were all jittery with excitement. They sought out the monuments to their favorite sports: cross-country skiing, gymnastics and rugby, respectively. We’re not a family that has conventional pursuits, which is why the Olympics are so inspiring to us.
We happened upon a sign depicting the 1980 U.S. men’s national ice hockey team which, against all odds, beat the Soviets at the height of the Cold War. I was instantly taken back to the 2004 Disney film about that subject, “Miracle,” arguably one of the best sports movies ever. It captures the emotion of the team, the anguish of the coach and the personalities of those who accepted the challenge and created one of the greatest moments in sports history. I choked as I tried to explain to my children what that day meant when my son piped up, “I know the movie. It’s GREAT!” For me, watching the film takes you through the typical journey of difficult training, doubt and the triumph of winning, but the lines I love the most are the ones in which coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) espouses creativity in the game. We often don’t think of creativity in sports, but you see brilliance and ingenuity in choices made on the field time and time again in football, gymnastics, soccer and many other events.
No matter what your sport, the pilgrimage to your venue of choice can be an inspiration. Whether you live vicariously through celluloid heroes or with the hope and dream to see your child in lights, take time to connect with your children via the great milestones that deck the halls of victory. Take a road trip that you’ll never forget.