Monday, August 10, 2015

Maccabi: More Than a Game

For those who don't know, the JCC Maccabi Games is an international Jewish sports tournament that sees teens ages 13-16 (12 if you're in an individual sport in your host city) compete in about a dozen team and individual sports every year, ranging from basketball to dance.

Having participated for four years, I was humbled and honored to be asked to come back as a coach this August, as Dallas was one of three cities to host this year's games. I had the pleasure of coaching a dozen kids/teens as the Star Reporters coach.

It was a full circle experience that brought back so many memories. As they played in my mind throughout the games, one prevailing thought kept entering my head: this week is really about everything beyond the actual games.

Sure, each sport competition is thrilling, and the pursuit of a medal through body-jolting athleticism is alluring, but this special week of Maccabi is really about everything else. And, I think my great group of star reporters started to catch on!

What Maccabi is really about is the friendships Jewish teens make during one week that can last a lifetime, the Midot Medal handed out to coaches or players for exhibiting great sportsmanship and Jewish values, and the incredible amount of time and effort put forth by coaches, volunteers, JCC staff and the community to create a bond that has to truly be experienced to be felt.

It's those stories that make Maccabi: the host families that take in a group of Jewish teens for a week, an Autistic boy I met who medalled in swimming, and for me personally, the way 12 teens responded to my guidance and how proud they were of the work they did.

With so many camps and options for Jewish teens, it's easy to not give Maccabi a second thought. But, I am here to tell you that Maccabi is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that everyone should experience.

To see all the great work that the star reporters did, click here! Make sure you also click on the printed versions at the bottom of the page.