“The Most Significant Event That Happened During My Presidency”
My four years as President of Or Hadash, from 2006-2010, went by pretty quickly. It's only a coincidence that it was during those years that I went from middle-aged to old within the space of four Board meetings. Those who were there know which meetings I'm referring to.
There were many highlights while I was President that produced wonderful and lasting memories. But what do I remember most? For those who recall my High Holiday speeches, you know the answer has to do with sports, and, more specifically, baseball.
It was during those years that little Or Hadash decided to leap into the big leagues and join the area's synagogue softball league. We were told that these were "friendly" games, that most players didn't care whether their team won or lost, and that it was more about the camaraderie and community building. We learned within seven minutes of the start of the first game that it was all about winning.
We knew we probably weren't going to be very competitive. We met a few times before the season began to work out the kinks. Working out the kinks put most of us on the disabled list. It had been a long time since the majority of us played softball, and the first bad sign was that for most of us, running to first base took minutes, not seconds. It took even longer for those who forgot where first base was.
We all know that Or Hadash never does things the easy way. Or Hadash is always pushing the envelope. Or Hadash hates to conform and be like everyone else. Or Hadash is cutting edge. And the Or Hadash softball team was the first team to field women players.
This was revolutionary! But we didn't field women players because we wanted to make a statement. We fielded women players because they were better than most of the men, and we fielded women players because they were smart enough not to get injured before the season even started. And, being totally candid, we fielded women players because they looked so much better than the men in “baseball uniforms.”
So how did we do? Yes, there were many, many lopsided losses. But our team took our lumps like men; yes, even the women took their lumps like men. We may have been totally dysfunctional, and we may have been older and slower and, did I mention, dysfunctional? We may have been losing every game and on our way to a winless season, but we were a proud team. There was never a question of effort. We tried hard, and we rooted for each other and we probably drank a few too many beers. We pretended we didn't care about winning, but when our record stood at about 0-14, the unthinkable happened. We won our first and only game of the season!
And, when that last out was made, when it sank in that we actually won a game, the team that pretended it didn't care about winning jumped up and down, hugging each other and anyone else who was close enough to grab. Gloves were thrown into the air, the hooting and hollering went on forever, and the celebration went on long into the evening. It was our Super Bowl and World Series all rolled into one. Our little Or Hadash softball team, the team that always lost, became the team that finally figured out how to win. That first win validated something that we already knew: that by doing it our way, the Or Hadash way, we would always be winners!