One of the major feel-good stories of the early summer in the United States, and which dovetailed so nicely with the July 4th weekend, was the victory of the US Women's Soccer team at the World Cup. And on Friday, July 10, New York City threw a parade in lower Manhattan to honor the team.

I attended this parade. It was a joyful, crowded, loud affair and relatively short compared to other parades in New York City, of which we have many (Celebrate Israel, Columbus Day, St. Patrick's Day, Puerto Rican Heritage, and so on). The parade started near the southern tip of Manhattan, by Bowling Green, then proceeded north on Broadway (which is dubbed the "Canyon Of Heroes" for these types of victory marches) to Worth Street and then a turn to City Hall. I stood near the northern end of the route, on Fulton Street west of Broadway. I could hear and sort of see the marching bands and bag pipe brigades, and more easily saw the floats and trucks that drove by slowly with members of the Soccer team and of a men's local soccer team, NYCFC.

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It was fun, but the whole parade only lasted about 45 minutes. (I glimpsed the formal welcoming ceremony on the steps of City Hall, but there was limited, invitation access to that event.) But I wanted to attend the parade for a variety of reasons: it seemed like good summer fun, I was curious to see what would be done (the whole thing was thrown together in just a few day), I wished to lend support to a women's team, and it seemed like a worthy photo op. I also felt a tad guilty because I had not even watched the title soccer match, nor any of the other earlier matches; I am not a fan of soccer, especially on TV. But I was happy to hear about all their victories. (And truth be told, during the championship match I was watching the Grateful Dead's final concert on TV.) So I did want to offer my good wishes to the team, and let the world know that I do support women's sports.


I thought about this the next morning at shul, when we read the Torah portion Pinchas. Specifically, we read about Zelophehad's five daughters, asking for their inheritance because they had no brothers. The five sisters are named, and they speak as a group; there is no designated speaker and as it appears in the Torah portion, they speak together as one unit. They function as a team, and their request, their mission, was carried out in a bold, straight-forward manner.

There is a pithy expression "There is no "I" in "team." A top team functions as a unit. Many people may fixate on a particular star athlete but overall, a team has to work together and the best teams feature athletes who subsume their own egos, in order to work together. The Women's soccer team did this, as did the five daughters--the five sisters-- in this Torah story.

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