Seth Chait, Mini & Jr. Maccabi coach for 2018, 2019 and the upcoming 2023 games, shares about his experience.
Growing up in a small Jewish community in Dover DE, I had heard about the Maccabi Games yet never participated in them. As a youth and teenager, a good portion of my identity was playing sports including competing at the college level with Wake Forest University. When our children Zach & Samara were old enough to play youth sports here in the Baltimore area, my year-round coaching career began in soccer, basketball and baseball.
My coaching involvement in the Baltimore community put me in contact with the JCC and Rebecca Chinsky. When I found out that the Mini & Junior Maccabi Games were coming to Baltimore in 2018, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. During the 2018 Mini Maccabi Games here in Baltimore and the 2019 Junior Maccabi Games in Philadelphia, I coached boys’ basketball on the teams that my son Zach played on. This included winning a bronze medal at the 2019 Junior Maccabi Games which is an experience and memory that everyone involved with our team will never forget. For 2023, I am excited to be able to coach Junior Girls Soccer for my daughter Samara’s team.
The most rewarding aspect of the Maccabi Games is that it brings young, Jewish athletes of different skill levels together from many different communities for a day of competition. The competition is not a Win at All Costs one, but instead one where the athletes, the coaches and the families take pride in their city and local Jewish communities. On the various fields and courts, it does take a strong performance to medal, yet there are always smiles, high fives and fist bumps at the end of every game no matter the outcome.
I highly recommend that as many people get involved in the Maccabi Games as it is a great way to combine athletics and community into one.
The Mini & Jr. Maccabi games will be held in Baltimore starting at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC on Sunday May 7. For information about upcoming tryouts and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.jcc.org/minijrmaccabi