By Sharon Wisch-Ray
The seven Fort Worth and Tarrant County teens who participated in the Dallas Maccabi games last week got into the full swing of the competition, taking home their share of medals and memories.
Maya Bloom, daughter of Michal and Rabbi Andrew Bloom, competed on the tennis court. A rising sophomore at Paschal, Maya, 15, took home gold in doubles tennis.
Maya said that her favorite part of the Maccabi games was meeting other Jewish teenagers from around the world. She said that it was nice to play and win gold with a girl from California as her doubles partner. The social activities outside of the athletic field like Top Golf were her favorite part outside of the actual tennis playing; there she could meet kids playing all different sports and not just from her sport.
Jared Imber’s, 16, golf expertise is well-known to our community. I remember him at age 4 driving the balls from his driveway into my parents’ front yard across the street on Hildring Drive East.
Maccabi capped off a busy summer for Jared. In June the rising Fort Worth Country Day junior spent three weeks taking a sports medicine class at Rice University through Duke TIP. Jared competed extensively throughout July capped off by his first hole-in-one at Ridglea Country Club during the Club Championship.
At Maccabi, Jared had a great experience, said his parents, Jill and Steve Imber. He enjoyed making golf connections across the country from Scottsdale, Atlanta, and Connecticut, just to name a few. Jared also enjoyed participating in JCC Cares with athletes from others sports and delegations.
On the links, Jared shot a 75-79 for a 154 in the main competition, 3 shots behind the lead. He shot a 67 and a 69 during the scramble rounds.
Jared came home with two gold medals for The Longest Drive.
Isaac Narrett, 16, son of Marcy Paul and David Narrett, showcased his table tennis talent and brought home three medals. Isaac won a gold in U16 doubles and a bronze for U16 singles. However, perhaps the most prestigious award he brought home was a Middot Medal. Each delegation is given middot medals to give to anyone in the entire Games that are demonstrating the highest form of core Jewish values. Kudos to Isaac for receiving this prestigious award. Isaac, who will be a junior this fall at Fort Worth Country Day, said his favorite sports moment was being in the championship doubles match.
“We were 2-0 down in games but came back to win 3-2 despite facing three match points,” he said.
Off the table, Isaac’s favorite non-sports moment was going to Top Golf and meeting everyone there. “It was a great way to meet people in a fun environment with something to do on the first night,” he added.
Philipp Prostok, son of Cynthia and Jeff Prostok, was a member of the Gold Medal Dallas Silver 14U Basketball team. With deep basketball talent in North Texas, there were four 14U teams and four 16U basketball teams on Team Dallas. Philipp, 13, will be in the eighth grade at Trinity Valley. He said outside of winning the gold medal his favorite thing was meeting so many Jewish kids from other places, especially Baltimore and Panama. Philipp added that Hurricane Harbor was particularly fun.
Samantha Simon played on the Dallas White 14U volleyball team and had a terrific time.
The daughter of Cyndi and Robert Simon, Samantha is 13, entering eighth grade at Fort Worth Academy.
Samantha’s favorite non-sports Maccabi moment was meeting new people from around the world. She became friends with people from Israel and Mexico. Samantha found it particularly easy to introduce herself to other people because at Maccabi everybody is Jewish and plays a sport. There’s also discussion about where you are from. She enjoyed trading pins. Samantha came home with pins from Mexico, Atlanta, South Jersey, Albany, San Francisco, and NYC 92nd Street Y.
Ryan Silverberg, 13, son of Felice and David Silverberg of Grand Prairie, played with the Team Dallas Black Team. Ryan is entering the ninth grade at Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy and is an accomplished tenor sax player. Ryan shared the following about his Maccabi experience:
“I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from around the world and will be able to continue these friendships I have made. The competition was great but the evening activities gave me the opportunity to get to know the other athletes outside of the basketball court.
“This whole experience will last a lifetime with me. I think the most memorable experience was helping at Paul Quinn College with the community service program. It made me realize how lucky we are to have plenty of food where others are less fortunate. This was directly related to my bar mitzvah project as well. I learned how to be a better person in my community and in my Jewish community. I hope to be able to go to the Maccabi Games in Columbus, Ohio or Kansas City, Missouri next year.”
I was fortunate to watch Bennie Sudbury on the baseball diamond firsthand. He and my son Sam were teammates on the 14U Dallas team which braved some scorching heat and finished the games 3-3, though out of medal contention. Bennie, 14, will begin ninth grade at Arlington Lamar this month; he is the son of Pam and Johnny Sudbury.
The standout catcher and clutch hitter commented on what Maccabi meant to him.
“My most memorable moments from Maccabi were the bus rides to and from each event. During these bus rides I got to meet new people from all over the world, learning about their cultures and sports they play. I also got to have fun and joke around with my teammates, which helped me relax before a game.
“The entire Maccabi experience was amazing. Since there aren’t many Jewish kids in my area, I was able to meet new friends who share a common culture and a love of sports.”
Yasher Koach to the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for giving generous scholarships to athletes from Tarrant County to participate.
Next year… Meet me in St. Louis!