SPRINGFIELD – The 2011 Springfield Maccabi Games were in full swing over the past week, and covering the action was a team of “Star Reporters” – teens who attended various sporting events and other activities and shared the news on the Maccabi website and its Facebook page.
The Games Have Begun!
The athletes are all here. The torch has been lit.
By Abby L.D. & J.L. Rosenblum, Star Reporters
Excitement, perspiration, Judaism and friendship: in short, the Opening Ceremonies. Lights flashing, a foggy haze filled the room with teens bursting with spirit. Last night, 32 delegations, more than 800 teens, and 4 countries gathered at the MassMutual Center in Springfield for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games. As delegations entered the arena, each making more noise than the last, the crowd stared in awe, cheering with excitement for the athletes.
The athletes took their seats and a hush fell over the crowd as a series of speakers came to the stage. They introduced the VIPs who were helping out with the Maccabi Games, and they spoke in remembrance of Ruth Webber, a supporter of the JCC and the Maccabi Games who passed away on Saturday. Her funeral was today. Twelve teens from the home team, Springfield, also spoke to remember the Munich 11; eleven Jewish athletes who were killed by Arab terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.
After the Munich 11 memoriam, the Maccabi chairs led the athletes, coaches and host families in their corresponding oaths. Then, past Springfield athletes came up to light the Maccabi torch to the tune of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.
Donna Orender was the guest speaker for this year’s Opening Ceremonies.
Donna is a sports executive and former collegiate and professional basketball player. She was a five-sport athlete in high school, lettering in basketball, field hockey, volleyball, softball and tennis. She played three seasons in the Women’s Professional Basketball League where she was an All-Star, playing for the New York Stars, the New Jersey Gems and the Chicago Hustle. In 1985, she played basketball for the U.S. Maccabiah Team in Israel. From 2005 to 2010, she was the president of the WNBA. Donna also served as co-chair for the U.S.A. Women’s Basketball team for the 16th World Maccabiah Games in Israel and is a member of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
When Donna finished her speech, the band took the stage, and ended the night with a bang and a cloud of confetti!
It’s official – The GAMES HAVE BEGUN!
Springfield Bowlers Score
By Zev Seltzer, Star Reporter
Sarah Goldstein is a bowler from Springfield. On Monday she played three games. Before the game she said, “I’m really excited for this game. Bowling is really fun. It’s my passion. I think I’m a good bowler. It’s good to have bowling in the Maccabbi Games because you can meet new people.”
Daniel Berg is a bowler from Springfield. On Monday he had six games total. Three in the morning and three in the afternoon. At the beginning of the first game in the afternoon, he said, “I’m feeling pretty confident.” He then took a break while it wasn’t his turn and said, “I’m doing pretty good so far, still confident, and not that far from first.” After the first game he said, “I felt good about this game. At the end of the game I was one point away from my high, with no bumpers. It was a fun game.”
Table Tennis Reflects Diversity
By Hannah Rembrandt, Star Reporter
Table Tennis is one of the many sports that are played here at the Springfield JCC Maccabi Games. Many people with diverse backgrounds come together for the Table Tennis event at the JCC Maccabi Games.
For some athletes, this year is their first year participating in the Games; others have been doing this for years.
“This is my second year doing Maccabi,” said Adam Gakin from New York. “My whole family has done Macabbi as well.”
One would think that the longer someone plays in the Games, the more experienced they are, but one first year JCC Maccabi athlete Alex Kugelmass from Springfield said that he has been playing Table Tennis for five years.
“Springfield is looking good,” Kugelmass said when asked about their performance so far.
Another athlete, Harrison Young from Marblehead, said this is his second year doing Maccabi, but it is his first year playing Table Tennis.
“I’m in it for the Maccabi experience,” Young said.
Hall of Fame Event
By The JCC Star Reporters
After a long, rainy day of action Monday, the JCC Maccabi Games athletes dried off and made their way to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for an evening of fun.
“Everyone seemed worn out by the end of the day, but it was a great social event,” Johanna Rosenblum said.
Some JCC Maccabi athletes toured the Hall of Fame museum, learning more about the enshrinees, while others enjoyed dancing the night away. The karaoke was also popular among the athletes, though most were content to chat with old friends and make new friends.
The movie profiling basketball star Dwyane Wade impressed Zev Seltzer. Wade is an NBA All-Star for the Miami Heat, an NBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist. The movie described Wade’s journey from the south side of Chicago to NBA champion.
Wade had a hard childhood and his mother was a drug addict, but he worked hard to become a high school star, then a college star at Marquette before going to the NBA. Wade credits his older sister most for raising him.
However the athletes spent their time at the Basketball Hall of Fame, it was a nice break from the games and the rain.
“It was real crummy weather,” Jasmine Siegal said. ” We were all just happy to be inside and having fun.”