The best feeling in the world
I’ve been struggling to get out of the Maccabiah bubble if I’m totally honest, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
I’ve slept with my medal around my neck for most of the week, sharing some great memories with friends, family and work colleagues alike.
The look on my son’s face when he woke up with my medal on his bedside table was worth a million dollars, and I never want this feeling to end.
It’s hard to believe that thousands of Israelis are oblivious to the enormity of the Maccabiah. Afterall, this is a massive event, bringing Jews from across the globe together, right on their doorstep.
Many of the locals remain mystified as to why the project costs so much to put together, but that’s a story for another day.
The post-Maccabiah come-down is hard to handle. At times we were treated like VIPs - getting big discounts in shops and bypassing long queues in some of Tel Aviv’s top nightclubs and bars. I could get quite used to that.
Evidently not each and every one of the Team GB delegation had the perfect experience and I was disappointed to hear that the Open football squad failed to put out a team for their final placing match. This was particularly hard on the squad players for whom this was a real career highlight. You can’t always win in sport and although this is hard to accept, dignity is just as important. I wonder what would’ve happened had they remained in the mix for gold.
So what lessons can be learnt ahead of the 20th Maccabiah Games? There are many, I’m sure, and I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the post-Maccabiah follow-up meeting.
As for the cricket team, we’re delighted with what we achieved, knowing in the back of our minds that having beaten eventual winners South Africa in our first match, we could’ve done even better than bronze.
The umpires in Israel were as inconsistent as the wickets, but there were a couple of strong ones who rose to the top and were rightfully rewarded with a place in the final.
Preparations for 2017 are already under way, but first us cricketers have a reunion to organise. The current favourites to host the bash are Marc Reingold’s Coopers in the City or Let’s Meat in Borehamwood.
I was on ’chocolate watch’ most mornings in Israel, trying to keep an eye on the vast quantities consumed by Dan Cohen, on the instruction of our coach David Nash.
It was hard to control the young man who tucked away vast quantities of chococlate milkshakes, yoghurts and pastries, but he performed very well and, clearly, the sweet taste of success rubbed off on his teammates.