Sunday, November 20, 2005

Heather, Coach Scott, and the Agony of Defeat

Pictured to the left is the "No Nombres", my 11-year old daughter's AYSO soccer team. No Nombres translated from Spanish is "No Namers"; the girls thought this would be a funny name. Sorry for the blurry photo, my cell phone can only do so much. This is a great bunch of young ladies.

Today was the last game of the season, and the game was decided in the last minutes of overtime. My daughter Heather was the goalie during those minutes. This is a story about winning and losing and people of character.

The No Nombres have had a less than stellar season. Their season record was something like 1-11, but they had fun in every game, and rarely lost by much. They never stopped smiling, or enjoying time with each other on the field and at practices. They laughed lots.

This team also had a wonderful coach. Coach Scott has been a friend of mine for more years than either of us wants to remember. We are also professional friends, both owning small businesses in the same discipline of commercial real estate. Scott is a wonderful guy, the type of fellow you can always depend on. There are not many Scotts out there in the world. He is also the father of three girls, ranging from 11 to 18 years old; all of whom are lovely young ladies. Coach Scott made sure that every girl played equally, had fun, was valued, and participated. For Scott, winning was definitely not what it was all about. Thanks, Coach Scott - job very well done!

The winning goal went in with about 2 minutes left in overtime. It slipped past Heather, and she immediately crumpled to the ground in tears. Her entire team surrounded her and offered words of encouragement. "Its all my fault", she kept repeating - and I thought my heart would break as well. She got her emotions together, and finished the game, but then fell apart again afterward. Final score 1-0; my shirt got very wet from tears. Sometimes it is hard to be a kid.

Tonight, after the end-of-season swim party was over, and we had settled in back at home, I asked Heather if she had learned any lessons from the day. "Yeah, I think I learned that it wasn't just my fault, you win as a team and lose as a team".

And who says kids can't teach us lessons?

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