Mini Maccabi

Mini Maccabi


JCC Rockland hosts


SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017
West Nyack, N.Y.


Brent OsborneMore than a Sports Tournament: Mini Maccabi 2015
I’ve tried them all—soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis; you name it, I’ve tried it. Truth is, sports just aren’t my thing. Over the years many different sports have piqued my interest; however, I have come to the realization that I am a much better spectator than I am a player. I am not a die-hard sports fan. In fact, most of the time I don’t understand what is going on. However, I am a true believer in the “JCC Maccabi Experience”.

On Sunday May 17th, over two hundred athletes and their families came together at JCC Rockland for the opening ceremony of the 2015 Mini Maccabi Games. Ten JCCs from across the northeast participated in the games with Jewish athletes playing baseball, soccer, tennis, boys basketball and girls basketball. Throughout the day, 9 and 10 year-olds from Baltimore, Maryland to Springfield, Massachusetts passionately competed in the various sports all hoping to take home the gold.

While taking home a shiny medal is certainly a highly desirable feat, win or lose the most important outcomes of the Mini Maccabi Games happened off the field and off the courts.

During the opening ceremony, I was overwhelmed with a sense of community. As the athletes paraded onto the field, they were beaming with pride for themselves, their team and their JCC. For many of these athletes, this was the first time they had the opportunity to go out there and put a uniform on to represent their community.

During game breaks, athletes from different delegations introduced themselves and interacted with each other. They talked about where they ate breakfast, bragged about how cool their hotel was, and in one case I witnessed, challenged each other to a burping contest (9 year-old-boys, what can I say?). And on the sidelines, parents from different cities shared their travel stories, desperately expressed their need for a cup of coffee, and bonded over their children’s efforts.

At the end of the day, Mini Maccabi extends far beyond the confines of a sports tournament. The games are not solely focused on winning, even though medals are always appreciated. Rarely do Jewish children have the opportunity to meet other Jewish children outside of their neighborhoods. The Mini Maccabi Games provide an opportunity to bring people together in ways that one would never imagine. The games embody what we, as a people, value about sports and life in general—a sense of community.

See you in 2016!