Around the Horned With Brian Estridge
Nov. 21, 2002
We try and use this column as a way to share information, tidbits and features that you would not normally read anywhere else. It's the inside scoop on TCU Athletics and its student-athletes, things you didn't know. Well, I think I'll do that again. I'll share with you some information on a student-athlete that you probably have never heard of, but this time it's going to be different. I'm not going to bore you with hard-to-find stats or reports on player's hobbies or outside interests away from sports. Heck, I'm not even going to brag on the academic prowess of a student-athlete. Nope, this is inside information on life, how our lives changed on September 11 of 2001, and how for one of our student-athletes it was another day, not necessarily just any other day, but a similar day.
In the summer of 2001, head women's soccer coach David Rubinson was the head coach of the United States Under-17 women's soccer team in the International Maccabiah games featuring Jewish student-athletes. While there, one member of the Israeli national team caught his eye. She was technically sound with an innate passing skill that his team at TCU sorely lacked. He made an inquiry regarding her educational goals, and soon learned that she was receptive to continuing her education at an American university. And so, the process began for 18-year-old Moran Lavi to become a Horned Frog; and so began the education of 30 student-athletes and coaches.
When the tragedy of 9/11 occurred, Moran was traveling with the Israeli national team. When they returned home from the airport they heard the news. "I was devastated," Lavi recalled. "America is our number one friend, and they were now experiencing the same tragedy that I grew up with. Everyone in Israel stayed home for two days trying to learn as much as they could about the events in New York from television." September 11 is a day that none of us will ever forget. My generation is lucky. Or is it? We never had experienced anything like this; we never felt as though America was insecure; we never would have thought that our lives could ever be in danger. But that is something that Moran experienced every day growing up in Ra'Anana, Israel.
"A war against terrorism is a fact of life everyday in Israel. Here in America people are more calm - they're not used to fear," she said. "In Israel, people are always stressed; they're cautious and they never seem to have time. Here in America people are more warm, probably because everyone feels more comfortable in everyday life." Her parents grew up in war, not necessarily war in the traditional sense, because as she so aptly put it "in regular war soldiers die, in this kind of war anyone can die." They taught her to be cautious. As times got worse she refused to use public transportation and she would join her friends at a restaurant only if it had security. But she tried to continue in a "normal" routine because you "have to keep living." But her suspicions of people, places and situations were always on high alert.
She left that world for ours. She admits that her happiness is at an all-time high and that her confidence continues to climb. Coach Rubinson says she has fit in with her team nicely and has made an impact on and off the field. "At the heart of it, coaches are educators first. And I have a sincere appreciation for how Moran's life experiences have had an impact on our team. She has been able to relate things to our players about this new world that we live in that none of us would have been able to do."
If she wasn't a TCU Horned Frog, Moran says she would be back in Israel as a member of the army (a requirement of every Israeli citizen). Instead, she is working to make the TCU soccer team better every day in practice, better on the field during games with her athletic experiences and better off the field because of her life experiences. Her impact in soccer games comes and goes with the box scores; her impact on the lives of her soccer teammates will stay with them for a lifetime.
From the streets and avenues of North Texas to the information superhighway, I'm Brian Estridge. We'll see you on the radio.