web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Breakfast Of Champions (Part II)

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

Brief synopsis: Monona Grove High School in Wisconsin was a most unlikely candidate to make it to the 1998 high school basketball championships, referred to as “State.” Especially so since the coach is a very young rookie named Dan Zweifel, who replaced the veteran Coach Verhelst. Andy Witte, the team’s star player, will do anything to please Coach V.

By the time Andy entered seventh grade he became the high school varsity’s official scorekeeper. Volunteering for the team kept him under the wing of Coach Verhelst, whose influence was profound. His word was as sacred as the Bible – on and off the floor.

And this was not unique to just Andy, although nowhere was the relationship as pronounced. The kids worshipped their coach and he capitalized upon their affection to build athletes and fine human beings. It was conducive for the coach to be operating in hard-working, rural Middle America, where values and character resonate.

To Coach Verhelst, trash talking was as sinful as a stray pass – and in greater need of corrective training. His players were reared on the milk of sportsmanship, and he instilled these values through theory and example. The work he was doing was somewhat against the stream current in America in the 1990s. It was a time of endless distractions for youth all but addicted to television, video games, Nintendo, PlayStation, Pokemon, cell phones, the web, and drugs. To combat all of these diversions a larger-than-life attraction was indicated. This is what the coach provided, enabling kids to believe in themselves and in their ability to succeed.

Andy Witte entered Monona Grove High School in order to play varsity basketball under Coach Verhelst; coincidentally there is also a Wisconsin compulsory education law. Andy made the junior varsity team in his freshman year, which placed him where he always wanted to be – directly under Verhelst’s tutelage.

In Andy’s sophomore year he advanced to the starting line-up of the high school varsity team. Coach Verhelst tweaked Andy (as he did every player), never being satiated with “potential.” At the end of the school year there was a banquet held for Coach Verhelst, and when the evening was almost over, a determined 10th-grader approached the man he respected most on earth and asked reverentially, “Coach, how can I have just as good a season next year, as I did this?”

Verhelst looked at Andy with the solicitude of a physician confronted with a patient who was oblivious to his own terminal condition. After an awkward silence he instructed Witte to come to his office the next morning at 7:30.

At 7:25 in the morning, hair damp and spikey from a recent shower, Andy stood outside the coach’s office, all anticipation and eagerness. The high schooler timidly knocked on the door. “The coach always preaches seriousness,” Andy thought to himself, “and I guess I have displayed enough of it to earn this special meeting.” No other thought occurred to him as Coach V invited Andy in and sat him down.

“I am stepping down from varsity,” Verhelst said gravely, “and no one else knows this other than my family, and now you.” Immediately Andy’s eyes began to swim, and in short order he shed enough tears to keep a small aquarium of saltwater fish alive. Just as his career as a varsity player had embarked, the man that had brought him there was departing.

The coach attempted to console him, but a lump wedged itself in his throat. He wanted Andy to know that he had a great future ahead of himself as long as he maintained his discipline. But he couldn’t get the words out.

He therefore clutched his star player in a bear hug to convey that everything would be all right. But that sure wasn’t Andy’s take; his world had collapsed.

Twenty-five-year-old Dan Zweifel, the youngest head coach ever appointed in Wisconsin history, was appointed to build it back up. It was a daunting challenge for such a young rookie to fill such large and venerated shoes. He gave it his best shot, but things did not work out on the court.

Coach Z managed to get his squad fired up prior to the game, but in real-time the team couldn’t deliver. No matter how they moved the ball they always seemed to end up in a defensive vise and could not make themselves at home on the glass.

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 II)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Judaism Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Winiarz-022715-Kids

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

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)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Eventually, after some trial and error, including an experience with a prima donna and one with a thief, I baruch Hashem ultimately found a fine, honest and reliable household helper.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

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

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/the-breakfast-of-champions-part-ii/2013/07/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: