Thursday, 23 July 2009

Maccabiah Games Netball - a personal reflection

July 14-21, 2009.

I've always loved sport – but netball? Come off it – it's
a girl's game – it's what Michal goes and plays with Susie and
all their chevra 3 times a week. Definitely not for me.

But slowly I was drawn in. Michal "volunteered" me
to help the Jerusalem girls with their fitness training. I agreed
somewhat reluctantly, but managed I think to contribute to the
effort, and thereby got to know the girls, and what they were going

From the first game it was very different from the last Maccabiah,
where Shira played as 1 of the "youngsters". This time she was
team captain, and Michal was the assistant team manager for
many months.

There was cheering, there was ruach, there were jokes with the
other Dads, and discussion of tactics with all the "mavens".
There was hope and there was disappointment. But above
everything else, there was great pride.

There was Shlomit's shy smile and apology if she fouled her
opponent, and the picture of her standing next to Shayna,
Australia's gentle giant. There was the understanding between
Gila and Devora, and their shooting which improved from game
to game. There was the sheer delight on Nomi's face when she
got to play Wing Attack and show everyone what she really could
do (almost as much as on Susie's face). There was the speed, the
excitement, breathtaking for me, as Gila passed to Shira, to Efrat
back to Shira and to Gila and the cheer which rose to a crescendo
as the ball went through the hoop. There was Miriam intercepting
on the line, and Gila – the strength and power of the defence.
There was Michal, who literally played until she dropped. There
was Nemi, fast and determined, Tamira and Yael happy to cover
any defensive position. There was Roni who put in all the hard
work, and stayed on the bench to cheer everyone on.
And there was Tanya calling the shots – even if they were hard,
and Shira, the manager, keeping everyone happy and in order.

And why was Shira crying after she got injured and had to come
off? Not because it hurt – and it did hurt. She was crying because
the Doctor told her she couldn't come back on – and she
desperately wanted to come back and help her team. And that's
what they were all about. From captain to coach to manager to
every last player. With great spirit, and love and joie de vivre.
And we felt a part of it. And we can be very thankful for that.