By Amy Zitelman, Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya
Watching the kids run in immediately brought a smile to my face. Their energy was contagious and if I was tired before the clinic started, it was soon taken over by energy and laughter. I was lucky to understand what Barak Netanya Coach Danny Franco shared with the kids, and was brought back to my own basketball days when my coach would preach the importance of team work and hard work. We started with my favorite drill, defense. An old coach used to tell us “defense wins championships” and I always played by that ideal. When we split up into stations, I got to help Barak Netanya player Chris Watson communicate with the kids at his passing station. He hardly needed it, though; his incredible personality and contagious smile immediately had the children at ease, and he easily demonstrated the point of his game- catch the ball. The younger children came to our station motivated to try their hardest. The older kids came over seeming over confident and unconvinced at the difficulty of the game. Their faces hardly cracked a smile each time Chris threw the ball to them and they easily caught it. Then it got interesting; and by interesting, I mean so fun and funny. Chris started faking the ball towards them, and if they flinched to catch it, they were out. Laughter ensued as the kids tried their hardest to predict if Chris would pass the ball or not, and they sat down when they were wrong. Big kids sat, little kids sat, and we were laughing until we brought it in and followed Chris’s “Barak” with a loud “Netanya!” The only thing that makes me happier than basketball, is watching basketball make other people happy. I couldn’t have had more fun!