As the fall soccer season arrived in New England, I was reminded of one of the pleasures of coaching youth players.
I recently had lunch with one of my alumnae from girls soccer, a young lady now aged 28. She said to me, "Do you remember that play I made in the tournament we went to in Connecticut?"
I responded, "Of course, you made a great save in front of the goal," a play I remember with great clarity.
"I don't remember that," she said, "I mean when I mistakenly headed the ball into our own goal and caused us to lose the game."
"I forgot that one," I replied.
"Well, I was devastated and was sitting on the grass after the game, sobbing my heart out. You came over and said, 'Don't worry, Tovah, great defenders sometimes score against themselves. Only the best defenders go out aggressively after every open ball. Every now and then, it deflects and goes into the net. You did a wonderful job.'
"I stopped crying, stood up, brushed myself off, and walked off smiling, saying to myself, "I'm a great defender!"
And she remembers this 14 years later . . . .