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Cinematters - Miracle


By Kelly Parthen and Shannon Payette Seip

Squabbling squad unites to go for the gold

Miracle You think you're being efficient by giving each child an evening chore: Sally sets the table, Casey clears the dishes, and Sammy loads the dishwasher. It seems simple enough until dinnertime, when the kids start arguing about whose job is most important. The bickering makes the whole family lose their appetites!

If lack of cooperation leaves you wanting to send family members to the penalty box, the new film Miracle can help show how teamwork pays off. And our activity, "Stick Together," will help bring the lesson to life.

Based on the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, Miracle follows a squad that doesn't stand a chance of beating the invincible Soviet hockey juggernaut. The U.S. team is made up of undisciplined college kids who are more interested in settling old scores than winning medals.

Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) has only a few months to turn this group of squabbling underdogs into contenders. In the end, he teaches them that teamwork supersedes talent and can even lead to miracles.

Family Activity: Stick Together
If lack of teamwork has caused too many face-offs in your family, do our activity, "Stick Together," to highlight the importance of working as a team.

Together, list all the various teams you're each part of. Don't limit your list to just athletic teams --for example, ballet class or marching band counts as a team.

Now, have each member of your family concentrate on one of the teams he or she belongs to. What are some reasons they are important to their teams? Is your daughter a thoughtful researcher for science projects? Does your son make great campfires for Boy Scout troop outings?

In the movie, the coach says the name on the front of the jersey (team name) is more important than the name on the back of the jersey (individual's name). Discuss what this means.

Ask what can happen when team members care more about themselves than about the team. Is any one teammate more important than another? Why or why not? Talk about whether teams with the most talented players always succeed.

Materials needed:
Old puzzle (use one with fewer pieces to save time)
Acrylic paints

First, think of a family project or situation where you need to work as a team, such as preparing for an upcoming family vacation.

Divide the puzzle pieces so each family member gets a few. Have each child use Miracle - Play!markers to decorate the cardboard side of each piece with his or her name, and discuss some of the roles they each will play to achieve the team goal. For example, Sally might need to water the plants and Casey might need to walk the dog to the dog sitter before you leave.

With the cardboard sides of the puzzle pieces facing up, have the family try to put the puzzle together. This will be difficult without the picture showing, so try it only for a couple minutes.

Explain that the puzzle pieces represent individuals on a team. When team members aren't trying to achieve the same goal or they become too concerned with their own goals, it's hard to piece them together.

Now, turn all of the pieces picture side up. Have some fun putting the puzzle together. Once completed, use the acrylic paints to paint your own family picture on the puzzle. You can make the picture specific to your upcoming family project.

While it dries, explain that even though the names are now hidden on the bottom side of the puzzle, the puzzle needs each and every piece to be complete. This is also a good time to talk about why no single piece is more important than any other.

Save the puzzle to reassemble after the family project is completed. Just like the Olympic hockey team, your family will see that it takes teamwork to achieve "goals."

E-mail your comments or ideas to [email protected].

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