FYI -- I just heard about this book, and thought some folks on this list
might be interested.
The Beautiful Game:
Sixteen Girls and the Soccer Season That Changed Everything
by Jonathan Littman
The author, Jonathan Littman, firstname.lastname@example.org , June 9, 1999
A real-life story of an inspirational soccer team June 9, 1999
Watching the Men's World Cup last year quickly taught me that my then 3-year-old
daughter cared not a whit for men, but wanted to see women play.
I had taken her to see a girls team play in Santa Rosa in the vague hope that it
might somehow turn into a book. I wasn't a sports writer or the author of soccer
books. I've always written about things that I find=
personally compelling, and it struck me that the story of a girls' season could
be a= moving drama. I also imagined it would be a lot of fun. As a former
college player who= has loved the game since boyhood, I could think of few
things more enjoyable tham watching a season of soccer games.
I was lucky. It just so happened that the Santa Rosa Thunder team was playing
for its first woman coach, Emiria Salzmann, a former All American. The girls
were from both sides of town, two teams thrown together. It wasn't clear at all
that they'd even talk to one another, let alone win games.
More than a year later, I feel fortunate to have been part of this rich,
emotional experience. The girls of the Santa Rosa Thunder taught me much about
competition, sportswomanship and friendship. The girls, coach and parents
graciously allowed me to become part of their community. I got =
to witness the joyous, emotional meetings before big games as well as the pained
ones with parents when things didn?t seem to be going as planned. I saw great
soccer and the days when back passes spun awry and every shot seemed to hit the
crossbar. I talked to the girls about their lives beyond soccer, and the
difficulties they faced in fitting in at school and with their peers.
Before starting this book I?d read enough to know a little of the enormous
obstacles girls face in adolescence. Experts say that sports are a wonderful
outlet for girls and boys. Still, I didn?t expect soccer to be a
miracle drug. But this strong woman coach challenged sixteen girls to bond as a
team, to become independent, resilient youn women, and in my view, these once
ordinary players surprised everyone, including their coach.
I have no idea if my daughter will decide she wants to play soccer, let alone
compete on a team like the Santa Rosa Thunder. But I= hope she finds something
like this in life.
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