By Mordecai Holtz
Growing up in the USA sports are the National pastime. So every four years, when Olympic season started, the entire country was filled with Team USA pride.
During the Winter Olympics, I still enjoy watching bobsledding, luge and ski jumping. By far, my favorite winter sport to watch and as a recreation is snowboarding. There’s always been one burning question: what is curling? And why is it considered an Olympic Sport? Let’s leave that question for another time.
During the Summer Olympics, I love basketball, running, swimming and cycling. Yes, the other summer sports are fascinating but something about the form displayed in these four sports is simply exceptional.
When recalling some of my fondest Olympic memories, the two that stand out both occurred during the Summer 1992 Games. As a basketball fan, I enjoyed watching the original Dream Team just demolish their opponents! Their Hall of Fame level of talent made the games clearly one-sided. Each game highlighted why this team is arguably the greatest team ever assembled in any sport. The Dream Team will always be a personal favorite of mine.
When I think about true Olympic pride, perseverance and true accomplishment, Yael Arad’s silver medal- Israel’s first medal ever- is a no brainer. I still remember celebrating this tremendous victory with friends and family. I can only imagine how Yael Arad felt at that moment. For me, just seeing the Israeli flag raised over the ramparts in Barcelona, gave me the goose bumps. An instant feeling of National pride.
For me, Yael Arad, is an excellent role model for all of us. Not only did she excel in her sport but Yael realized that Israel was (and remains) misunderstood in many part of the world. So she leveraged her position to serve as an ambassador-at-large for her country. That’s powerful! Upon winning the silver, Yael dedicated it to those who were maliciously murdered in Munich. Again, a selfless act to honor those who fell fulfilling their role as Israeli ambassadors. They too were on a mission to show the world that Israel can compete on an Olympic scale.
As an Oleh, I enjoy watching Team USA but I will always favor Team Israel. Why? Because the Team is a microcosm of Israeli society! Relentless resiliency (read chutzpah), hard work, and an appreciation for a history that is truly miraculous. These athletes are not only motivated by their past, they assume their role with humility and obligation that is truly inspirational.
About Mordecai Holtz
Mordecai Holtz is an experienced non-profit professional in community organization and development, nonprofit administration and management for 8 years. During this time, his areas of focus have been program development, engaging niche communities, reputation management, and actualizing programmatic vision with a keen eye for detail. Mordecai is well versed in social media and enjoys using these tools to guide small businesses and non-profit organizations reach their fullest online potential. When Mordecai is not spending time with his wife or playing with his 5 kids, you can find Mordecai running, biking, playing basketball, or enjoying a great cup of coffee.
You can follow Mordecai on Twitter @mordecaiholtz