shovel-ready

Plow Share: “A steady snowfall and frequent pauses made today’s game an almost intolerably slow spectacle,” Albion Ross of the New York Times carped in February of 1936 after the U.S. opened its Winter Olympic account against hosts Germany on the outdoor ice of Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s stadium. The pauses were for the snow-plowers, above, who did yeoman’s work in the blizzard that ensued. The Americans managed a 1-0 win, though there was grumbling from the home team, with Herman Kleeberg, head of the German hockey federation,  claiming that the game had ended “irregularly” because, while tournament officials had proposed to suspend play due to the snowfall, U.S. coach Walter Brown had refused because the U.S. was winning. The Germans later clarified that while they had thought that the game should be halted, they respected the referee’s decision to continue, and that the matter was closed as far as they were concerned. Coach Brown said that he’d given up midway through the game trying to assess his own players. “Conditions were so terrible,” he said, “I don’t know anything more about the team than I knew before.”