I once heard a novel definition of “Bar Mitzvah.”
According to this “golden oldie,” it is the age when a Jewish boy first realizes that his chances of owning a major league professional sports team are much better than actually playing on one! How much more true if that boy happens to be Orthodox?
Has an Orthodox Jew ever competed in the summer Olympics?
Additionally, should we even encourage Orthodox kids to take any sport seriously?
Those of us who have coached elite level Jewish athletes, are all too aware of events scheduled for the Sabbath or other major Jewish holidays, forcing the athletes to choose. But if the athlete is Orthodox, such conflicts are magnified many fold. We remember Sandy Koufax who famously refused to pitch in the World Series that fell on Yom Kippur.
Beatie Deutsch, an American- born Orthodox mother of five now living in Israel has dreams to be first Orthodox athlete to reach the summer Olympics. Beatie, or “Speedy Beatie” as she is known around Israeli marathon circles, qualified by being in the top 80 finishers worldwide.