Do You Believe In Miracles?


I was already deep in the infatuation stage of my love affair with sports at age nine when the Winter Olympics rolled into Lake Placid in early 1980. I had already studied every sports magazine I could lay my hands on in desperate preparation. I knew the stories of Eric and Beth Heiden. I practiced pronouncing the name, Ingemar Stenmark. I selected Mark Johnson as my favorite hockey player (he reminded me of Luke Skywalker). And I was very familiar with the chances the United States hockey team had against the Soviet Union.

So at a most impressionable stage of life, I was glued to the television as the American hockey team made its improbable run to the gold medal stand. But when an elated Al Michaels asked the timeless question, Do you believe in miracles?, I had no idea he was asking me one of the most important questions of life.

The Olympics are inspirational. This is intended to be an inspirational column. And as I thought about combining the two today, it struck me that an affirmative answer to Al Michaels’ question is very nearly prerequisite to being inspired in the first place.

A miracle is defined as “an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature,” and I happen to think it is downright important to believe in such things in order to (a) sometimes just keep going, and (b) when truly inspired, to reach for the stars.

To go back to the Uncle Hub well from Secondhand Lions, “Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.”

Or take the fantastic story of the fiery furnace from the Jewish prophet, Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego declared, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Or from the Christian Bible, the words of Jesus: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Do you believe inn miracles? It is required to go for the gold, to pursue true love, to face the fire, and to move mountains. That’s what I believe.

When I counsel married folks who hate each other’s guts, it takes a belief in miracles to give love another chance. When I try to comfort a grieving human being mourning the death of a friend, it takes a belief in miracles to latch on to a shred of the word “comfort.” And when I faced the devastation wrought by a hellish hurricane, it took a belief in miracles to pick up the first bit of debris and talk of rebuilding our community.

Do you believe in miracles?

I choose to believe. They make movies and write books about people who believe.

And the alternative sucks.

3 Responses to “Do You Believe In Miracles?”

  1. jay lassiter Says:

    i got goosebumps reading about the whole “do you believe in miracles” bit.
    i was 7 when we won gold in lake placid and i remember it like it was yesterday.
    the olympics are lame now, without coldwar tension.

  2. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Bravo Al. Great thoughts and a great article.

    Too bad the pros have ruined Olympic hockey. Not that hockey needed that much ruining to be made unpalatable.

    And yet again… Duvall speaks the truth.

  3. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Thanks, Jay. Maybe we can get Al Qaeda to get a hockey team together?

    I’m with you on the hockey front, Joe. One of my friends says you can’t call it a sport if they use a urinal cake in it.

    Oh, and do you like Duvall?

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