By Lester Glantz
Unlike the fastest game on ice, they didn’t have to play 82 games plus four rounds of playoffs before they got a chance to hoist the cup. The cheers and high-fives emanating from the red-shirted Maccabi team, fresh from Sunday’s head-to-head no-holds-barred battle against their yellow nemesis, was a sure sign they were the 2012 winners of the grueling Maccabi Canada – Camp Robin Hood – Sports Challenge Cup.
Some sport purists would argue that Los Angeles captured Lord Stanley’s Cup in less taxing conditions, in the cool confines of the Staples Center playing a single sport with lots of rest in-between games. On the other hand, Maccabi Canada’s ‘Kings’ of sport did so in adverse conditions with a punishing three-plus hours of head-to-head competition under the hot sun and stifling heat. And yet, once that was over, they still had to harness enough energy for the culminating activity, the multi-disciplined obstacle course, the ultimate test of perseverance and desire.
As the day progressed the pace changed from unbridled drive in the early hours of competition to a somewhat slower gait as tired muscles ached and the odd groan could be heard as players switched at regular intervals from football to basketball, soccer, beach volleyball and baseball. But throughout the battle for on-field supremacy spirits remained high as there was nothing but support from fans, from teammates, and the good sportsmanship demonstrated by all.
On Sunday, everyone was a winner, especially athletes destined to compete in Israel in 2013, as the teams helped raise thousands of dollars for Maccabi Canada’s Adopt-an-Athlete program. The sun-soaked and sweat-stained participants were key event fundraisers for the program which aims is to insure that ‘no deserving athlete misses the opportunity to compete in Maccabiah 2013’.
As Maccabi Canada President Tommy Bacher presented the cup and players held it high, he reflected on the aforementioned goal and thanked the athletes and volunteers for the many hours of preparation it took to put the combined Maccabi Family Picnic and Sports Challenge together.
At the same time sounds of laughter and splashing could be heard nearby as children frolicked in the pool and took part in various other picnic-related activities. From face painting to the ever popular petting zoo and barbecue many families took advantage of the ideal weather conditions to drive to the Markham-area camp to help support athletes destined for the 19th Maccabiah. Sun glasses, sun hats, and sun screen were the order of the day as parents followed their toddlers through the camp’s many facilities.
“We asked for better weather”, said Tali Dubrovsky, reflecting on the cooler temperatures that greeted the inaugural picnic last year. “And we got it.” Dubrovsky, National Executive Director for Maccabi Canada, said the crew of volunteers had increased this year and were a lot better prepared because of the organizing committee’s response to feedback from 2011. “They were ready, willing and able,” she added.
As the day drew to a close medal-laden weekend warriors started planning for next year’s competition, while freshly painted faces prepared for the drive home and, perhaps, a day when they too will compete for the elusive Cup.
Overall Winner Red Team
Captain Michael Miller
Junior Supporters Carmel Tzur, Romi Tzur
Second Place Gold Team “The Sting”
Captain Stephen Goldsmith
Junior Supporter Erez Titanski
Captain Boaz Feiner
Junior Supporter Josh Bukshfan
Captain Ave Bross
Junior Supporter Shane Levin
Black Team “Defending Champs”
Captain Mike Bacher
Junior Supporters Ethan Dubrovsky, Jonathan Dubrovsky
Captain Jamie Weksberg
Junior Supporter Daniel Kravetz
Additional Sport Challenge Pictures