The 29th Hebraica Maccabi Games concluded this past Sunday at the Michael Ann Russell Jewish Community Center (JCC). It’s an annual event during the week of Thanksgiving and has become a tradition with many families in the area. The Maccabi Games are an Olympic style competition in which all ages participate in sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, dodge-ball, dance, volleyball, spinning, and more. There were many teams, each themed after a country – such as Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Israel, and Puerto Rico. This event attracted thousands over the week; some were competitors, families and friends coming to cheer, and others just visit the JCC as spectators to enjoy the scene.
There was a high energy spirit surrounding the center; at every turn athletes were zigzagging from field to field getting ready for their next game or cooling down from a victory. In addition to the many sports fields, basketball courts, and pools, there are several playgrounds for the kids, a BBQ (Asado), tasty Arepas, Tequenos, and so many other traditional Latin American treats.
The kids loved the excitement and during the closing ceremony there was even a bounce house and a petting zoo. As all of this was going on, music was constantly blaring in the background creating an inspirational soundtrack to the event – K´naan – Wavin’ Flag, featured in the video below.
The players received medals for winning games and some even received trophies for achieving excellence in certain categories. There were many awards announced during the closing ceromony; Peru received the adult men’s soccer award, Colombia won women’s volleyball, Israel won the best coach award, these were just a few of the awards which are given based on athletic merit and sportsmanship. Most of these awards are in remembrance of passed members of the Heberaica community to honor their memory.
There are many distinctions athletes competed to win, but there was an overall sense that being a part of the event is the prize everyone fully enjoyed.
Everyone is looking forward to next year!