From the blog of the new MJBHA Headmaster (a Hapoel Dad)

Soccer Dad

Sept. 3, 2006 (10 Elul 5766)

Today I had the opportunity to experience the phenomenon that is Hapoel Soccer (www.hapoelsoccer.com). Of course, everything looks better on a beautifully sunny day in early September, but it really was fun seeing so many of our kids out on the soccer field, bonding as teammates and competing against each other with good sportsmanship. And best of all, I was not in charge!

"Play hard, play smart and be a mensch" says the Hapoel logo. With all of the national handwringing about competitive youth sports - and the accompanying obnoxious behavior on the part of kids and parents alike - it was welcoming to see that the message of Hapoel soccer focuses not on competition but on midot. It helps to reinforce the messages we are trying to send in school, and, I presume, at home.

I particularly like the idea that each week, three players are to receive awards for playing hard, playing smart and for being a mensch. The best players will always get the recognition that they deserve as great athletes, but it is those who play the game right - by working hard, by getting the most of their ability, by being good sports - that we need to go out of our way to applaud. Kol ha-kavod to Matt Bernstein and the other volunteer parents!

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