Andrea Joyce and Miracle: Two Underdog Stories

Blog Post #5

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Thucydides’ “Melian Dialogue” depicts the conflict between the superior Athenians and inferior Melians. The Athenians essentially give the Melians two simple choices. The Melians could either give up and join the Athenian army or they can refuse and the Athenians will attempt to destroy them. To make a long story short, the Melians refused to join the Athenians and unsurprisingly, the Athenians ended them. On the contrary, Andrea Joyce and the 1980 US Hockey team provide examples of overcoming great odds to earn success, something the Melians were unable to accomplish.

NBC Sports' Andrea Joyce

NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce.

Andrea Joyce, a former University of Michigan student, became one of the first prominent female sportscasters and she continues to work for NBC sports today. The inequalities in women’s sports Mika Lavaque-Manty discusses in his piece, “Being a Woman and Other Disabilities”, also apply to women and their roles in sports media. When Andrea Joyce started in 1978, there were very few women doing newscasting in general, let alone sportscasting. She got her first opportunity when one of her colleagues was sick and she filled in to cover a Mavericks vs. Nuggets game in Dallas. She outperformed everyones expectations by getting an interview with Doug Moe, who constantly refused to interview with NBC sports. Her career in sports media then took off. She has been in multiple roles from sideline reporter, to play-by-play, to pre and post-game shows, and even occasionally an analyst. She has also covered major sporting events such as the World Series and the Olympics. Despite her impressive resume, she says she still faces some troubles due to her gender. She claims that women in sports always have to know their stuff because people are looking for them to mess up and one mistake for a woman could have more significant consequences than for a man.

Erin Andrews is a famous female broadcaster who is extremely attractive

Erin Andrews is a famous female broadcaster who is extremely attractive.

There has recently been an increase in the number of women working in sports media, but gender differences still play major roles. Most women work as sideline reporters and occasionally as hostesses, but it is rare to see a woman doing play-by-play or working as an analyst. Furthermore, most women in sports are extremely attractive, making one question whether physical appearance can be equally if not more important than a woman’s sports knowledge in deciding whether or not she gets the job. On the bright side, Andrea Joyce changed women’s role in sportscasting, which has led to a vast increase in the number of female reporters and women’s roles within sports should only increase.

Herb Brook was a legendary American hockey coach.

Herb Brook was a legendary American hockey coach.

The 1980 US Hockey Team, as depicted in the movie “Miracle”, defeated the much superior Soviet Union team in route to winning the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in New York. The game itself had significant political implications, as the US and the Soviet Union were amidst the Cold War and America’s victory gave the country excitement and greater national pride. I would argue that the US was able to pull off the upset in part due to their Machiavellian approved leader in head coach, Herb Brooks. Brooks lived up to Machiavelli’s famous ideology when he claims he would rather be feared than loved as ruler. The first words that come out of Brooks’ mouth when he first addresses his team are, “I’ll be your coach, but I won’t be your friend”. These words along with Brooks’ intimidating actions allowed him to earn the respect of his team and forced his team to work harder than they ever would have expected. Their hard work due to their fear of Brooks is what ultimately propelled them to winning the gold medal in 1980. Of course Machiavelli believes it is best to be both feared and loved and Brooks was eventually able to achieve this combination. As the team grew closer and started winning, they realized the value of everything Brooks had taught them and they loved him in return. Machiavelli would have viewed Brooks as a successful leader because he was both feared and loved.

Both Andrea Joyce and the 1980 US Hockey Team were able to accomplish remarkable things against seemingly improbable odds and the impact of their successes were felt throughout country and the entire sports world.

-Aaron Simon