By Sharon Wisch-Ray
About this time each year, I write a column on the road from the Maccabi Games. This year Team Dallas (which includes four athletes from Fort Worth) traveled to Birmingham, Alabama where the small, but mighty Jewish community here is putting on a heck of a games. Opening ceremonies were held at University of Alabama’s Bartow Arena.
Auburn men’s basketball Head Coach Bruce Pearl delivered an inspiring up beat keynote, encouraging the athletes to embrace, maintain and be proud of their Jewish identities. Matisyahu provided musical entertainment. A highlight of the event was the lighting of a steel forged cauldron (see top teaser on p.1) to formally start the Games. The cauldron was made for the games by Sloss Furnace.
The first day of play Monday, saw Team Dallas fair well with under-16 girls’ soccer team winning its match, 5-1; under-14 boys’ soccer winning, 6-2, and tying, 2-2; under-16 boys’ soccer winning, 1-0, and losing, 4-0; girls’ basketball winning, 49-28; under-14 boys’ basketball winning, 47-41; under-16 boys’ basketball winning, 61-53; under-14 boys’ baseball won its first game, 6-1 and lost its second, 16-4; under-16 baseball split with a 4-3 win and a 10-2 loss; flag football won, 40-14, and 52-25; the two Dallas volleyball teams each split their matches. Dallas’ lone swimmer earned a bronze medal Monday.
Monday night, Dallas athletes were treated to warm Southern, Jewish hospitality around Birmingham as host families had a chance to spend some quality time with their charges.
Tuesday began with JCC Cares and the Dallas delegation visiting the Civil Rights Museum with a tie-in to Tisha B’Av. Tuesday’s games got underway after press time.