When world number 2 Naomi Osaka convinced 15-year old Coco Gauff to join her for an interview on Arthur Ashe Stadium at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the US Open, the world took notice.
Not because Osaka had convincingly defeated her young opponent. Rather, she chose to acknowledge Gauff and recognise her life journey thus far.
Gauff was in tears; overcome with emotion and no doubt releasing pressure by reacting in a child-like manner: weeping with disappointment. Osaka consoled her; it was a touching moment and a valuable lesson.
There are times we find excuses for professionals who we admire, convincing ourselves that they have been wronged or unfairly treated. They haven't. It just doesn't suit the opinion we wish to have of our sporting heroes at that time.
Yet, this was such a different moment in sport. It was refreshing.
We are so accustomed to hyper-competitiveness often stimulated by fame and fortune that produces poor sportspersonship.
I was no different, albeit without the money and worldwide adulation...
As a young soccer player, scoring goals was my sole objective.
Off the field I was inclusive, kind and mild-mannered. Yet on the field I was anything but - a classic diagnosis of white line fever.
As a result, and long before mindfulness and sports psychologists, each Friday night before a game my mum would knit with me. Yes - knit! She would furiously craft the body of jumpers with the click-clack of needles creating an unforgettable sound, while I would fashion the sleeves. Two-by-two rib stitch cuffs and intricate cable textures forming along the outside of the sleeves were all part of the weekly routine.
It centred and settled me; keeping my nerves at bay and the desire to score the first goal of every single game somewhat in check.
The intensity I brought to game day could either positively or negatively impact my teammates. Often, our teams did well, but it was driven from my deep desire to win, and the feelings of self-worth that eventuated when guiding a round ball into the net.
Composure and perspective are essential for mastery. The game cannot just be about winning or losing while at play.Brian Wightman
But when it didn't go to plan, my contribution to the team lessened and could be disruptive. I lacked composure and perspective.
Composure and perspective are essential for mastery. The game cannot just be about winning or losing while at play. Being able to view the challenge in its completeness and make decisions without becoming emotionally distracted is essential for enjoyment and success at any level, but particularly with juniors.
While I have plenty of experience working with young people, coaching has insisted a new phase of personal learning and the need for subtle changes. Coaching is not captaining the team. Players must enjoy the game without adults commentating their every touch. This has been a challenging transition that was pointed out to me rather bluntly. Initially, I wasn't totally accepting, but knew deep-down the advice was right.
High expectations when training and playing underpin quality coaching environments coupled with honing basic skills and learning tactics. I am a firm believer that the more you understand the game the more enjoyment you will experience.
My favourite piece of coaching advice was discovered recently when perusing the weekend papers. Just be a mum or dad when you're in the car the article encouraged. Because as parents and coaches we must be careful not to rectify failures nor revive past glories through our children and their teams.
I now also proactively notice, acknowledge and encourage a sense of fair play.
Watching children trying their best but stopping to offer a hand to a felled opponent or checking the welfare of a teammate or informing referees that it was in fact the other team's throw-in is considered as special as the first goal of any game.
Competitiveness remains important but the want to nurture good people through their involvement in sport is essential. Winning also matters but must be balanced with learning how to behave when you inevitably lose.
Naomi Osaka heaped praise on Coco Gauff's parents telling them what a wonderful job they had done in raising a determined and talented daughter.
We can only hope that our friends and opponents think the same of us.