web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Why is the tzitzis reminder on our clothing? How does it remind us that there are 613 mitzvos?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

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

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

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

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

Thinking about how much we can do in comparison to what we have done serves as a corrective against pride and arrogance.

Separating fun from happiness can liberate, regarding (a) time, (b) money and (c) jealousy.

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: