Timing is a funny thing.
At a time when we have been reminded of the
perils of being a proud Jew in today’s world, the Jewish world has an
opportunity to witness Jews being proud without fear.
Just days after our
televisions and computers were flooded with the gruesome footage of the carnage
left behind by a despicable gunman who heinously murdered three Jewish children
and their father outside a day school in France, the 21st annual Red Sarachek
high school basketball tournament at Yeshiva University tips off.
described to me by former Director of Broadcast Operations and current Alumni
Advisor for YU’s athletics website MacsLive.com, Moshe Kook, the Sarachek
tournament is, “Jewish High School teams traveling from across the continent to
New York to play under the bright lights, in front of a packed gym, playing for
And for the first time in the tournament’s 21 year history
every game will be broadcast in HD quality video on MacsLive.com for the entire
world to see.
To me the timing couldn’t be better.
As an American
sports fan living in Israel, the time has always been five in the morning. That
is roughly the time I experience strong feelings of either devastation or
Six years ago it was sorrow, as I sat outside in a freezing
cold Jewish Quarter of the Old City after watching UCLA lose to Texas on an
airball converted into an alley-oop at the buzzer. The pain was palpable, and no
it wasn’t just the frostbite and dirty looks from beggars on their way to the
Conversely, three years ago it was unbridled joy, as I chest
bumped my friend’s father after Derek Fisher’s buzzer-beating three to all but
lock down another NBA title for the Lakers.
The fact that the sun was
rising at the same moment that the Larry O’Brien trophy rose from Kobe’s
fingertips somehow made it all the more sweet (although the 6
a.m. victory cigar was not).
With that in mind, I am ecstatic
about watching my YULA Panthers compete in the YU Tournament. I still fondly
remember my entire school cutting class to huddle around the receptionist’s desk
listening to the audio broadcast of our Panthers bringing home another
Thus, I have no qualms with the games being played in the wee
hours of the night because I know that the adrenaline I receive from watching
the Purple and Gold claim another ring will pale in comparison to the pride and
exhilaration I will feel if my Black and Yellow bring another banner back to the
City of Angels.
Bring it on conventional sleeping hours, you can’t stop
me from “seeing Red” (patent pending)! But wait, there’s more! This year’s Red
Sarachek Tournament is not just a great time for Olim with insomnia.
the YU student body it is one of the most electrifying times to be on campus.
“YU campus comes alive during Sarachek,” Kook exclaimed.
“Lines are drawn
as alumni band together to root for their teams and the Sarachek rivalries take
“It really merges the YU and basketball sides of the
tournament together in a wonderful way.”
For my YULA Panthers, it’s time
to reinstate the old guard. The winningest high school in Sarachek history was
defeated last year by newcomers, the SAR Sting, and they appear to be on a
collision course yet again. YULA entered the tourney Thursday as the No. 2 seed.
SAR is right behind them at 3.
For the Beren Academy Stars of Houston,
Sarachek will be the first time the team that stood up for its religion gets to
face the greater Jewish community it so wonderfully inspired.
it’s going to be so much fun, we get to compete with the best Jewish teams in
the country,” Beren senior Ahrony Guttman excitedly told me just minutes after
the Stars touched down at LaGuardia Airport.
After winning the right to
have their semifinal game pushed from Shabbat night to Friday morning and
reaching the State championship, Beren will look to prove their meddle against
Finally, for the MacsLive staff it is a time of exciting
growth and innovation.
I had the pleasure of working for MacsLive in my
one and only semester at YU, and their professionalism and dedication continues
to amaze me.
This indomitable spirit was reinforced by MacsLive
co-founder Adam Cohen in his announcement of the HD video
“MacsLive has grown by leaps and bounds in the past ten years
thanks to innovative and exceptional Yeshiva University undergraduates, “Cohen
“[MacsLive co-founder] Avi [Bloom] and I began with under $5,000
in equipment and a staff of four, calling a no-frills radio broadcast that was
hosted on Yeshiva’s website.
“We had one unbreakable rule: we do things
first-rate or not at all.”
I asked Kook how he thought the new video
would transform the Sarachek experience for those not fortunate enough to watch
the action live at the Max Stern Athletic Center.
“Our goal has always
been to bring the pulsating, exhilarating atmosphere of Sarachek into your home,
office, or school through your computer,” Kook explained, “and our new video
product will make the fans feel like they’re sitting in the gym.”
if there was any downside for the MacsLive staff, “We’ll all need to look
presentable now,” he quickly replied, with a chuckle.
MacsLive and the Red Sarachek tournament enter a new and exciting era in its
already storied history.
“We’ve certainly come a long way from ten years
ago when all we had was four headsets, an audio mixing board, and couldn’t even
go to commercial during breaks,” Cohen said.
I would say, with the issue
of Jewish pride on the front-burners of the global conscience, for this former
fan, player and employee, even if it is at five in the morning, the 21st annual
Red Sarachek Tournament has arrived right on time.
Catch every second of
exciting Red Sarachek basketball at MacsLive.com