Among the Nazi atrocities not often discussed on this side of the pond is the siege of Leningrad. For over a year, Germans surrounded Soviet Union's second largest city from all sides. After the Soviets broke the blockade in early 1943, it still took a year to clear the Nazis out. Over half a million civilians died.
The phrase that the living envy the dead is a cliche, but here it was close to the truth. Lack of supplies coupled with northern Russia's glacial winters led to mass starvation. Rations were reduced to bread made mostly of sawdust. People ate shoes, tree bark, cats... or worse. Yes, THAT worse. The thing you're thinking about, it happened.
Which brings us to... soccer. (Let's make this a little less dark, shall we?) With the blockade lifted, Leningradians came back, and its local team, Zenit, scored an upset for the ages, winning Russia's soccer cup in 1944.
Starring for Zenit was Boris Levin-Kogan, who had two peculiarities: he was bald (this is obviously decades before being a bald athlete became fashionable) and Jewish (his nickname: "twice a Jew", for his double-barreled, oh so Jewy name). Levin-Kogan and his teammates emphasized how important winning the cup was for lifting the spirits of his townspeople.
If you didn't think we can fit soccer into any discussion, you haven't been paying attention!