Last week, I indulged in being "aim habanim smaicha," a happy mother of children. Two different armies played a role in the week's adventures: soldiers preparing to defend our country, and "gridiron warriors," keeping American sport alive and well in Israel. The natural joy a mother feels when she watches her children becoming fully themselves was enhanced by the camaraderie among their fellows.
This post will honor the young football heroes. They are heroes to me -- not because they are brave and fearless and stupid. ("Please, Coach! Send me in there to defend a cylindrical object from several gigantic guys, so that they can all land on me with their full weight as they try to pry the ball from my frozen and possibly bleeding fingers!" Football is a game that only a few very special women can truly understand. I am not among this elite group.) These young men are my heroes because even under fire, they remember who they are, and what they stand for.
Due to my work, this was the first time I have ever been able to watch my son, Sports Guy, play the game he eats and sleeps and lives and breathes. While this post is not about him, let me take a self-indulgent mommy moment. He was really beautiful to watch on the field. Since I don't understand the game, I had the luxury of focusing only on him. (I could only recognize him by the golden shoes, as the boys are still awaiting their very cool purple jerseys. Stay tuned for photos of the Orli Print Ravens in full uniform.) And I was so awestruck that I couldn't get my camera to my eye fast enough to catch a picture of him in action, much less a video.
This post is really about his team, and a little bit about his coaches (one of whom happens to be his father).
I didn't watch a bunch of egos on the field. I watched brothers who love each other. I watched Jewish young men playing a very tough sport, but managing to keep their behavior under control, even under pressure.
|Defensive Coach Orman talks with a couple of his players.|
|Suiting up: our heroes came directly from Sabbath peace to the field of battle.|
|One of our gentle giants helps another.|
|"Fish" takes a little time to have a catch with a fan and future player.|
|"I hate pictures, Ema." "You do your job, young hero, and let me do mine." "Aarrggghhhh!"|
|Our littlest giant, with the biggest heart|
|One of the big, tough football players rescued this moth before the game, so a little life wouldn't be unnecessarily snuffed. (Yeah, I'm talkin' about you, Didi.)|
|Head Coach Eastman gives the guys a pre-game talk about achdut and sportsmanship.|
|No, this is not a casualty. A player knows he can count on a friend to help him stretch before the game.|
|Ravens kick off|
|Everybody loves seeing this referee with full beard and payot.|
|The very exciting game is over. This is one of the moments when sportsmanship shines. Final score: Orli Print Ravens, 37. The other guys, 6.|
|Coach gives a little post-game guidance about fair play to very respectful players. I am so proud of these guys!|
|The Ravens congratulate each other on a game well played, and hear a short farewell speech from a fellow player.|
|Kozo, our phenomenal place-kicker, plays his last game until the championships. He's being traded to the IDF.|
|Part of the Orli Print Ravens posing with Kozo.|
|The extra-point team -- the ONLY team to have kicked extra points in the league. To the left of Kozo is Josh Kalman, the center. Ari Levin (right) holds the football for the kick. Unlike Lucy, he NEVER flinches.|
|Our fearless sponsor, the owner of Orli Print, and her son Binny "All Heart" Shushan|
|Our youngest loyal fan, and the father who actually lets him stay up for these games, Yarden Frankl. Catch his blog at Crossing the Yarden, and his insightful commentaries on HonestReporting.com. Somewhere in that sea of white and black Ravens players is his son, Max.|
|Zack and his very proud papa|
|Coach tells the boys to let the scoreboard do their "trash talking" for them.|
Go, Ravens! See you at the Super Bowl!
Haveil Havalim #306: A MishMash is live at Frume Sarah's World.