Three weeks ago, on the night of Dec. 2, 2017 the Yavneh boys varsity basketball team became back-to-back champions of the Weiner Tournament in Baltimore, MD. The team played against schools from America, Canada and Israel, remaining undefeated the entire week. Cheered on by the girls varsity team and their managers, the boys won the championship game against Heschl, 56-39.
I could feel the energy the second we stepped off the bus onto Beth Tfiloh’s campus in Baltimore. Greeted with a banner, each Yavneh Academy student piled into the building, a smile on every single face. Everyone was highly anticipating this year’s Weiner Tournament, as each year seemed to be better than the next.
Though it was only my first year attending the tournament, I automatically felt at home, as we were surrounded by Jewish teens with similar interests and open arms. I really didn’t know what to expect at first, but was quickly lost in the whirlwind of basketball games, with quick breaks for lunch in the middle of the day. It was quite the busy week.
I was impressed by the kindness of the Beth Tfiloh staff, as they served us three meals a day and always made sure we knew where we needed to be.
After our championship win last year, it was evident that each attendee of the tournament had high expectations for the Yavneh players.
Game after game, we went undefeated all throughout the qualifying rounds, ending with a record of 5-0. I could not believe how hard each player worked, all striving to be the best and always going the extra mile in order to improve on already developed skills.
I remember the exhilirating feeling that spread through my body as I entered the doors to the gym a few minutes before the championship game. I knew that the boys had put so much effort into each game beforehand, and I knew that they were going to try their best to win. Of course, as a manager, I was biased.
Sitting on the bench was extremely exciting, as the whole team cheered the players on, calling out different plays to help win the game. At halftime, we were down by a few points, and many fans came up to me showing their concern. I recall waving them off, telling them “they got this! They always do.” I was right. The boys won the championship 56-39 against Heschel, gaining about eighteen points in the second half of the game. The crowd went wild as we all ran into the center of the court, cheering on the team and their new achievement. That night, I was proud of my boys.