When I previously published a blog about the changing culture of Maccabi I expressed hope that the Jewish nature of the organisation would become a measure of pride, and indeed it has become so.
These days you don’t walk past Maccabi on Yom Tov and Shabbat and see competitive sports being played in contravention to Jewish tradition.
However this past Shabbat the under 13’s boys soccer team set one of the most amazing examples of what it means to be a member of a Jewish sports team by going one step further.
The team had progressed to the final of their league. The day before their big grand final game the entire team came to Shule and spent the Shabbat together in preparation. Led by their coach, the boys sat together and davened, received aliyot to the Torah, and were supported in Shule by the head Maccabi coach, the Maccabi Soccer club President and the Maccabi President. They spend shabbat lunch with their coach, and returned to Shule for Mincha and sudah shlishit where they again participated in the community shabbat.
To see a Jewish sports team unified together by their Shabbaton, and to see how much respect and dedication they have towards the leadership of their coach was very inspiring. Forget the award of coach of the year, this gesture deserves the coach of the century. True leaders, from Moshe Rabenu through to the coach of an under 13 soccer team, are leaders because their example serves a model for other people to follow. The team of young men were an inspriation to everyone who saw them in Shule, and should be very proud of the way in which they prepared for their final as a complete Jewish team.
They played their final today, and for the record won seven nil. Mazaltov boys!