Jamie Chadwin, the coach for the U.S. youth basketball team at Maccabiah, reflects on the places they've visited in the days preceding the games.
Ardmore resident Jamie Chadwin is coaching the U.S. youth division basketball team. This post was pieced together from a few of his blog entries and edited for clarity.
The past few days have been very engaging, physically challenging and emotionally introspective. We've moved on from training camp to touring the country through the Israel Connect program and it's been great to see how the young athletes react.
We visited a tank museum, caves near Tel Aviv, the square where Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, the house where Ben Gurion declared Israel's independence on May 14, 1948 and the old city of Yaffo.
We knew that this trip was about so much more than just competing. Our tour through Jerusalem was one of those days in which we saw that firsthand.
We first walked through the dry part of the water tunnels of the City of David. (The parts still carrying water were a bit too short for many of our players.) Following the tunnels, we headed into the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel, the remaining western retaining wall that surrounded the second temple that was rebuilt by Herrod after being partially destroyed.
The area is one of the most introspective and spiritual places to visit. That was clear on the faces of the players after we left. It was a tremendous experience to see them have this opportunity to literally touch their past.
Later, we went from floating in the Dead Sea to taking in the powerful imagery of Yad Vashem. What a powerful few days capped with a B'nai Mitzvah celebration as the sun was setting in Jerusalem.
I am constantly impressed by the attention span and focus of our group. We have such a strong sense of togetherness, on and off the court, which will hopefully translate to success on the court. We open up on July 21 against South Africa.
More to come,