Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Today’s a strange day for me … both times I’ve competed with the Maccabiah, we’ve celebrated July 4th in Israel (complete with fireworks, which must have unsettled the neighbors around Kfar Maccabiah). So being home for Independence Day in a Maccabiah year is not such a familiar experience.

So let me finish bringing you up to speed on how we assembled our Men’s Team. Disappointed that we lost three qualified bowlers from our applicant pool, we continued our efforts to recruit … and then Hurricane Sandy hit. On top of everything else, we had planned on naming our team around November 1, which was obviously delayed as life here in the Northeast was anything but normal. When things got back on track in mid-November, we appointed six men and four women to the Open Ten-Pin Bowling Team for the 19th World Maccabiah Games. Think the task was complete? Sadly, you’d be wrong.

In a matter of weeks, two men had withdrawn their names and we immediately replaced one spot, with the second replacement soon to follow. For awhile, we had our six men in place as we tried to complete our women’s roster. But one by one, our women were withdrawing their names, as well, leaving Meryl as our only female competitor. That’s when the top Maccabi Team USA leadership made the decision not to send a Women’s Bowling Team. Though that was certainly the biggest blow we had been dealt to date, we continued to forge on.

The final obstacle was when one of our men withdrew from the team in mid-June. By that point, trying to find a replacement was nearly impossible, and through we tried to find someone last minute, our efforts were futile. So, we’ll be travelling to Israel with a five-man roster.

While it could be worse, the lack of a sixth man does prevent us from maximizing our medal opportunities. Our competition is made up of five disciplines: Singles, Doubles, Trios, Five-Man Team, and Masters. During Singles and Teams, everyone will compete in the day's discipline while also accruing scores for their All-Events total (which is its own medal opportunity and is used to determine who will compete in the  Masters competition). During Doubles and Trios, some bowlers will only accrue scores for their all-events and will not be eligible for a medal opportunity because we cannot field the full roster of entries into those competitions. Ideal … not really. But at the end of the day, this is the hand we’ve been dealt and we’ll certainly make the most of it.

The struggle to get to this point has only made us all stronger – cliché, yet true. You can now see how there were moments of great joy and periods of sheer frustration throughout this entire process. But there will be more enjoyment to come as we make our way to Israel and to the competition, that’s a guarantee!

Ok, enough about the past. With each passing day, I’m more and more excited to be spending three weeks in Israel with my teammates – Jared Goldschen, Jim Lewis, Uri Peled, and Marc Scherlis. B’Shavua Haba’a B’Yisrael – I can’t wait to greet you all next week in Israel

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