September 5, 2013
WHY HE'S THE LORD OF THE RINGS
Ex-Cosmos forward Roby Young tells a tale that has a certain ring or two to it
By Roby Young
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
My name is Roby Young; I live in Syosset and work as a teacher at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn.
I played soccer for the famous team of the seventies, the New York Cosmos. We have played our home games at Hofstra University. We won the North American Soccer League championship in 1972 and received a championship ring.
The ring is a gold ring with the Cosmos logo in the center and the words “ 1972 NASL Champions” around it. A few years later burglars broke into our house and stole everything valuable including my wedding ring and also the N.Y. Cosmos championship ring.
I approached my friend, Uri Hachami, who is in the jewelry and diamond business in New York City. He used the same ring I have borrowed from a teammate, Paul LeSeuer, to produce the replica. Some $200 “later” I got my new championship ring, this time with my name engraved on it.
A few years later I participated in a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house and at one point during the party I felt that my ring was no longer on my finger. I searched the entire house but no results. A couple of days later I was doing the laundry in the basement of my house and while the washer was spinning I heard a “cling, cling” sound from the machine. I emptied the laundry and there it was, my ring was resting at the bottom of the washer!! I figured out that when I stretched my fingers down to pick up the laundry the ring slipped off it.
A few years past and on a cool fall day I conducted a sport class on the soccer field of my school. I suddenly felt that my soccer ring was missing from my finger. I lined up the 30 children on one side of the field and told them that whoever finds my precious ring will receive a nice gift. We went back and forth a few times, but no luck.
One boy told me that his dad had a metal detector. I called the father and described all the areas I was at on that day. Over the weekend I received the call I wished for:” I found your ring, Mr. Young," the father said. “It was at the bottom of the firewood pile by the fence of the school.”
I was shocked and happy. I realized that on that cool morning I went to get logs for the fireplace and probably stretched my fingers down to pick up the logs and lost the ring. I thanked the father and, as promised, I got a nice gift for his son.
Years passed by and in 2005 our family traveled to Israel over the spring vacation to visit my ill mother. One day we went to a beach in Haifa called “Daddo Beach”. It was a warm spring day and my two little grandchildren, Adam (five) and Ben (three), asked me to take them into the water. The water was clear and small waves came onto the shore. We went into the water and stopped at about two feet deep, holding hands and hopping over the waves.
I got hot and decided to cool off by getting into the water. I jumped in and as I pushed myself up I felt the ring slipping off my finger onto the sand. I immediately reached down with my hands, moving them back and forth, searching for the ring. No luck. I sent the boys outside and someone got me goggles from the restaurant’s owner who knew me. For two hours I searched for my ring, but did not find it. I was absolutely sure that I would never see it again. We returned to the United States.
Three months later the phone in my house rang. The voice on the other side asked: “Are you Roby Young?” I said yes. “Did you play on a championship team?” I said “Yes, who is this?” He said his name is Eli Malka and he found my ring in the water off Daddo Beach.
I was shocked; I did not think for a minute that this was possible. I asked him: “How? Where? When did you find it? He replied that he used to be a lifeguard and now he swims with a mask looking for lost items in the water. He asked: “Do you know someone from a Washington team who lost a football championship ring?!!” He explained that he also found that kind of ring.
At my next visit to Haifa I met Eli Malka and his wife at the same beach where he showed me where he found the ring. It was in the same area I have lost it three months before. He gave me the ring and it took me a while to convince him to receive the Clock/radio I bought for him in appreciation for his effort and honesty. He said he remembered me as the best soccer player of Haifa and the Israeli National Team as well as a legendary lifeguard who saved a woman who was pronounced dead already. (Another amazing story!!).
By the way, after losing the ring in the water, thinking I will never see it again, I went back to my old friend Uri Hakami and he made another ring for me, this time the cost went up to $320 after discount!!
So, I am the owner of two Cosmos championship rings today and I consider myself “The lord of the rings.”