Thursday, July 24, 2008

Serving Israel

I arrived in Israel too late to join the army. Not that I tried or could have afforded to join the army, but there is not much need in the army for a 32 year old father of three with no experience.

Still, when you live in Israel, and everyone around you serves in Millium, you want to do something for your country.

Since arriving in Israel I have contributed to my community by volunteer coaching my oldest's baseball team. The past two seasons have been fun, and I enjoyed watching the kids improve on the diamond.

A few months ago, I was asked to be on the National Juvenile team's coaching staff. It wasn't an easy committment. Weekly midweek practices required that I left work early, and when we played multiple games in a week, I really wrecked my work schedule. But deciding to be a coach was easy. Some people in Israel serve in the army; I coach baseball. It's not much in comparison, but it is what I can do.

Last night we had our final practice in Israel. We playe a scrimmage, starters vs the bench, and as expected, our starting nine beat the bench rather easily. My oldest, who is playing for the National team for his second season, had a nice hit and pitched an inning for the starting team. As I was coaching the bench team, I coached against him for the first time, and even though I was pulling for our pitcher to get him out, i was glad when he reached base in both of his at bats.

Late Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, we are going to airport to fly to Italy for two tournaments. Veev is understandably jealous. Last summer she accompanied our oldest on the trip, but went to the Czech Republic. It was a good trip for her, but it wasn't Italy.

Depending on how well we play, we have up to 11 games over the ten days we will be there. We will also have a day touring the Tuscany region, and a day in Rome. The trip should be physically exhausting, but fun, and it is something that I have looked forward to for the past few weeks.

It is really amazing to think that two summers ago we made this move to a place we didn't really know, and now, I have the opportunity to represent Israel and Judaism in an International baseball tournament. It is an opportunity I could not have envisioned before coming, and something that I never would have had the chance to do living in Michigan.

And this is my committment to my adopted country. I will represent them well. I will wear the name of Israel across my chest, in my blue and white uniform, with all the pride I can muster for my new and ancient homeland. I don't know how many games we will win or how well we will play, but I know that when we leave Italy, their impression of Israel will be altered from the pictures they see on the 11 o'clock news. They will see kids and adults fully ensconced in the joy of a game. They will see people who act with kindness toward others, a team dedicated not only to playing the game, but playing with sportsmanship. And hopefully, if all goes well, they will see a team with gold medals draped from our necks.

5 Comments:

Blogger sabarich said...

You go, Arye (and Daniel!) Whatever happens, we are proud of you!

The Shver

July 24, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Raachel said...

Good Luck! You'll be great!

July 24, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger concernedjewgirl said...

good luck!

July 24, 2008 9:56 AM  
Blogger The Zwicker said...

Don't bother trying to find a villa in Tuscany. There are none.

July 25, 2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger the sabra said...

o YEA!

August 05, 2008 5:08 AM  

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