web analytics
July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Breakfast Of Champions (Part I)

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

Dear Readers:

You may remember how we once did an experiment with a story (about a monster fire in Arizona) without Jewish protagonists, but containing a universal lesson that I believed worthy to record for the readers of Chodesh Tov. We are there yet again, this time directly north in Wisconsin.

Please bear with me as we once again record a story we investigated in the hope that the lesson is unique and worthy of our attention. It is going to take us five full columns to complete the tale, and I thank you in advance for your patience.

The road to “State” – a term without even a preambulary article to describe high school basketball competition to crown the top team within federal borders – is a journey incomparable to other major sporting competitions. There is no commercialism or promotions, media appearances or million-dollar contracts in the wings.

Even the feted college sports competitions, which should be free of the mercenary pitfalls of professional sports, are tainted by players who know very well that they are but a contract away from making millions of dollars in sport franchises.

Making State is an achievement in many respects more glorious, and absolutely more humble, than the Final Four or an NFL conference championship. Premier college basketball and football teams appear before sold-out crowds and national television. The players are featured on tabloid sports pages, in sporting magazines and on countless websites.

High-school teams perform before sparse audiences in scrappy gymnasiums and their accomplishments rarely merit more than half a column in a local newspaper (sans portraits). All of this changes if you make it to State, where you will compete in a major stadium that can seat five digits.

Monona Grove High School (city population 6,200) was the least of likely candidates to make it to Wisconsin State in 1998. The year before their record was a dismal 6-15 (and all six wins were lucky affairs). The school’s beloved, veteran coach – a man who looks sort of like the retired version of the Marlboro Man, sans mustache – stepped down, and his large shoes were replaced by a 25-year-old rookie.

But before John Verhelst’s retirement, Monona Grove – an isolated community in a large metropolitan area – had an impressive varsity. But the coach’s departure saw the basketball team slip into a slump that it did not seem it would ever withdraw from.

The first year under Coach Dan Zweifel’s stewardship, Monona Grove’s opponents dominated virtually every aspect of the match-ups. Often they had a 12-point lead early, a 20-point lead late and very few moments of concern in between. The pattern repeated itself in far too many games.

The school board realized that they had been a tad too hasty in hiring such a young fill-in for Verhelst. One more year with a poor showing would be even harder to reverse down the road. As Dan Zweifel’s employment hung in the balance, his august challenge became all that more personally compelling.

To his great benefit he had a lot to work with: pound for pound, his squad was good and unusually tall. Most of that talent was around the year before, but it was raw. Zweifel himself had grown about five years in the last twelve months and his team was beginning to pick up the slack. High-school senior Andy Witte became the coach’s right hand and imposed discipline on his teammates. The team motto became: “play every minute of the game.” This was interpreted to mean play hard every minute of the game. In summation, 32 minutes of hard play!

Andy had met Coach Zweifel at basketball camp when he was a young slip of a lad during Coach Verhelst’s one-week basketball boot camp in the summer. It was there that he fell in love with the sport and Coach V.

(To be continued)
Chodesh Tov – have a pleasant month!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Breakfast Of Champions (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The White House will free Pollard but bar him form traveling to Israel for five years.
US Won’t Let Pollard Out of Country for Five Years
Latest Judaism Stories
Moses and the Ten Commandments,

The 10 Statements main point was not content but the encounter between G-d & His nation, Israel

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Before going in, I had told R’ Nachum all of the things we were doing in Philly, and how it was very important to receive a good bracha on behalf of our newest venture, a Russian Kollel.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem

(JNi.media) Tisha B’Av (Heb: 9th of the month of Av) is a fast day according to rabbinic law and tradition, commemorating the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE by the Roman army led […]

Devarim often parallels the stories in Bereishit but in reverse & can be considered as a corrective

‘Older’ By A Month
‘…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a)

We realize how much we miss something only after it’s gone.

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

Moses begins Sefer Devarim reviewing much of the 40 years in the desert & why he can’t enter Israel

While they are definitely special occurrences, why are they cause for a new holiday?

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

“When a king dies his power ends; when a prophet dies his influence begins” & their words echo today

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

The word “shavat” in the first kina of Tisha B’Av morning indicates a sudden suspension and cessation of time that accompanied the Temple’s destruction.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Since the students knew the housing rules in advance they should not have picked Yale hoping for an exception in their instance.

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Yale argued living on campus meant living in the “real world,” with its complexities and challenges

I felt terror posing questions to Rav Elyashiv doing so only twice in the 9 years I was in his shiur

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

Rav Elyashiv favored books about gedolim with 2 caveats: accuracy; and no distasteful elements

Humility often confused with low self-esteem, truly means that a person realizes his true worth

If we are certain that God is on our side, we can easily become arrogant and even cruel

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/the-breakfast-of-champions-part-i/2013/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: