Sunday, December 17, 2006


It is the smallest of differences. One letter differentiates the S'vivon that my children are spinning this Chanukah from last year's model. One letter in English, too. The difference between Peh and Shin, Here and There. All it takes for the little letter to change is uprooting your life, your career and family, and suddenly, instead of celebrating events that happened somewhere, we're celebrating Chanukah in Modi'in, in the very place where Chanukah was born. Its like drinking a coke, in Atlanta, or driving a Ford on I-96. Some things just seem to go together.


I was thinking about this one difference. Not only in relation to Chanukah, though. Sometimes all it takes in one play, and instead of the championship series in Ranana, we're in the consolation bracket in Tel Aviv.

Its the annual Little League Chanukah Tournament. We played a double header today. We lost to Yerushalayim and beat Kibbutz Gezer, finishing with a 1-1 record. It was good enough to be tied with Yerushalayim after the days games were completed, but since Yerushalayim beat us, they will be playing for the glory.

And it all came down to one simple play.

The final score in the game was 8-6, but at the time of the play, we were leading 4-3. There were two outs and the bases loaded for Yerushalayim, when their player hit a ground ball to our Shortstop. Our shortstop is a likeable kid, one of the best players on the team. He spent his summer in Krakow, helping the Israeli team place third in an international competition this summer.

In other words he can play.

He fielded the ground ball cleanly, and wanted to throw to third base. It was the smart play, and easiest throw for him to make, especially as he was headed toward third to field the grounder.

But our third baseman was watching the play instead of reacting to the play, and did not cover third base. Our Shortstop looked toward second, only to find that our second baseman was not standing on the base either. By this time, there was no play at first any more, and the shortstop held the ball.

Five minutes later we had given up a four more runs, and were losing 8-4. We made it close, but didn't have enough punch in our lineup to break through and overcome our errors.

One play. If we make it, if our kids heads are in the game, we go to Ranana for the championship.

Instead, we get to play for the consolation tournament.


The smallest of numbers, the narrowest of margins and the slimmest change. But that one letter on the svivion, that one play at third base, and it made all the difference in the world.


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