Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let The Games Begin

I went to pick up CousinMarko at the airport this evening. He's here to play soccer in the Maccabiah Games. You know the Maccabiah, it's when us Jews pretend we do sport. It's an event sort of on par with the Kalahari Desert Downhill Ski Championships or the Pygmy Tribes Open Basketball League Finals. The funny thing is that while getting to compete in the Maccabiah is quite an honor if you live overseas, here it's virtually invisible except to those representing Israel (Stas one of our squints plays rugby in the national team). Every mention of family coming over to play in the Maccabiah was met with the same response "Oh, there's a Maccabiah this year, I had no idea" and "I hope he's not representing Australia" (in 1997 during the opening ceremony a bridge over the Yarkon river collapsed and 4 Australians died, three from infection caused by exposure to the horribly polluted river water). But never fear he's here representing the US and they are well back in the alphabetical lineup.

While there have been a few (very few) notable Jewish sportsmen, sports are just not a core competency for us Jews. I'm always tempted when I get spammed with those "just look how many Jews have won the Nobel prize" bits of feel good propaganda, to respond with the incredibly dismal performance of Israeli athletes in the Olympics (1 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze in total). So it's nice that every 4 years we get to compete on a level playing field and show world Jewry just how well we dominate the whole 80% thing.

But, Hey CousinMark we hope you kick butt, and bring us all a lot of Nachas.

5 comments:

jozie said...

Look, its people like you what cause unrest.
Mark Spitz alone won 11 gold medals and broke 23 world swimming records.

OK, so we don't have many Michael Jordans but we do have Micky Berkovitz and Tal Brody, Benny Leonard, Daniel Mendoza where pretty famous, and what's his name the soccer player for Manchester City?

Jeez

mart said...

I have to point to the 80%ness of this post.
I quote " I'm always tempted when I get spammed with those "just look how many Jews have won the Nobel prize" bits of feel good propaganda, to respond with the incredibly dismal performance of Israeli athletes in the Olympics "
OK so Israel is not that big in sports but to name a few Jewish sporting acheivments:
Starting with Mark Spitz whom your beloved wife who is rarely wrong mentioned above.
Ali Bacher - A renowned cricketer who captained South Africa to many wins.
Sid Nomis (A distant relative)- 1 of the best wings in South African rugby who played for the Springboks in over 50 test matches.
To make this short, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jews_in_sports
Don't give us a bum rap.

blackpetero said...

Dude. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to replace all mention of Jews with Israelis, but come on. Of all the memorable sportsmen in history, we have to always drag out Mark Spitz and some above average soccer, cricket and rugby players. While as a culture Jews (and as a nation Israel) has had a disproportionate influence in finance, science, politics, law, medicine etc - we barely feature in sports. We're the people of the book, not the sport's field. Show me one one area where we even rank as world class, were we have history and tradition. Maybe one of these days something like Krav Magah will break on the world stage - we're pretty good at fighting.

jozie said...

Victor Barna, was a brilliant table tennis player who was five times World Singles Champion between 1930 and 1935. In all he won 22 world championship gold medals and was a member of the Hungarian National Team that won seven Swaythling Cups.In 1993 he was elected a charter member of the International Table Tennis Hall of Fame, and in his native Hungary he was honoured as “the most successful Hungarian sportsman of the twentieth century".

so shut up petero.

jozie said...

Oh, and I will have you know that "In contrast, the country’s Paralympics delegation has been winning medals for years, largely due to the grim reality that war and terror attacks have left Israel unusually endowed with promising young athletes who became disabled. The country has garnered almost 300 Paralympic medals in total"