More Stories – Coaches

“The games promote sportsmanship. One of my athletes broke her strings during a tennis match and her opponent had to lend her a racquet to finish!”

“It is always wonderful to be with the young kids and see their enthusiasm and willingness to participate as part of a team. I was impressed and proud when, realizing they were going to win by a wide margin, they held back so as not to embarrass the other team.”

“My team played in the gold medal game for Flag Football. We played a team which is basically a professional flag football team. They play around the world and don’t lose. Although my athletes knew the game would be ugly, they played hard. They were very dejected in the 2nd half and you could see defeat written all over them. Once the game ended and the team received their silver medals, they truly came alive. They attacked my assistant coach and me with water bottles and ice and we proceeded to have a fantastic water fight on the field for the next 30 minutes. They realize the true spirit of JCC Maccabi and know that the athletic competition is only a portion of what the experience is all about.”

“My team had a game on Thursday that was not a medal game. The other coach approached us and asked if we wanted to do more of a “fun” game and mix up the teams and play. I said it was up to my girls. When I asked them they are replied very strongly ‘No way Coach, we came as a team, we play as a team, and we stay as a team.’ I thought it was very cool that even though we were out of the medal rounds, they still wanted to play as a team and play for the victory.”

“My favorite memory is when I heard the man speak about the Munich 11. I was not very familiar with the events that occurred in 1972. I felt we were watching a part of history when he spoke. It made we realize how blessed I truly am.”

“My girls loved playing against the Israeli team. Even though we lost it was a great experience. Also, at a practice before the games one of the girls said she had to leave to prepare to fast for Tisha B’av. Many of my girls had never heard of it, so we stopped practice and sat on the floor and had a really meaningful Jewish discussion. THIS is the true meaning of the JCC Maccabi games.”

“I saw two of the athletes that I coached, one from an orthodox home and one who is not hanging out together the last night. These 2 guys probably would not have met each other otherwise.”

“Hearing the story from the Israeli dancer who learned of her first cousin being killed just days before the games. Hearing her heartfelt words from the letter she prepared and read and the candle she lit; and her receiving the honorary gold medal from the Dance committee head.”

“The JCC Maccabi Games offer our Jewish teens an opportunity to interact with Jews from all over the world. Our Jewish community is only 4,000 Jews. One of our athletes said, ‘Everyone here is Jewish! I didn’t realize there were so many Jews my age’.”

Making New Friends

“This year was the first games I ever attended and I never thought I would have as much fun as I did. Watching the athletes compete and make friends with members of other delegates was amazing. I wish I had gone when I was the right age.”

“My best swimmer and the best swimmer from another delegation, who battled it out every day in the pool, became best friends, and hung with us quite a bit during the games.”

“This year I coached 11 tennis players, an all time high for our delegation. Before the games I was slightly apprehensive about the dynamics of the group. While we had an even mix of boys and girls, half the team had extensive competitive experience and the others were purely recreational players. I feared that differences in skill level would make team bonding difficult. How wrong I was! On the rainy morning when matches were postponed, the tennis players came as a group and sat together, cheering on our girl’s basketball team in a thrilling overtime win. The 2 youngest and most recreational players were constantly getting “lost” because they were chatting with new friends from other cities and always had the biggest smiles on their faces. One even came home with a medal in doubles! And while our most highly accomplished player did come home with the gold, all of her teammates who’d been eliminated were there in the stands to watch her grueling match and cheer her on. True JCC Maccabi team spirit!”

Providing Opportunities

“I had the fortunate opportunity to coach a girl’s U-16 soccer team composed of players from South Jersey, Springfield, Youngstown, Boston-Haifa, Virginia Beach and Poland. It was a very rewarding experience, over the course of the games to see these girls become friends, compete together, support each other and become a team. The friendships they made will last a lifetime.”

“We had a player on our baseball team that is battling cancer and he got to play in our games twice and throw out the opening pitch for the gold medal game. He was very excited about these opportunities.”

“I had 8 Star Reporters – some who used the “team” as default for not being very athletic. Those most resistant to “working” and “writing” throughout the Games afterwards told me that they were now considering joining their school newspaper. Made me feel great.”

“As a family, our kids love the whole trading of the pins with the different delegations. It’s a fabulous way to meet new people! The trading of all the clothing and bags etc. the last night for the kids and coaches is such a blast. The connections and Jewish Geography is probably the best part of the entire week! Someone always knows someone you know…”

“Watching my girls play hard and compete in every game is always a highlight for me. The time spent at the games reminds me of all the good things teenagers are capable of doing. I love being around my team and am always proud of them but watching them at this years Day of Caring and Sharing project was so impressive. After being tired out from a tough game my girls managed to dig down deep to find the energy to work with young children. Watching them give back was very rewarding!”