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Post-Maccabiah blues or midlife crisis? I just cannot decide

It’s been hard to get back to day-to-day life following my exertions at the 20th Maccabiah Games. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    My heart is still somewhere in Israel and my head is reflecting on an incredible 16 days in a Jewish Olympics bubble, when I burnt the candle at both ends. That’s the effect the land of milk and honey had on me.

    Upon returning to “normality”, I spent the next day-and-a-half in and out of sleep. I believe mid-afternoon power-naps could be the way forward.

    My first day back at work was greeted with cheers and high fives, as my colleagues asked to see my silver medal, and five-minute catch-ups turned into 20. The last few days of the school run also had a celebratory feel. I was the only dad to turn up in shorts and flip-flops, but it appears even the security guards are avid JC readers … who knew?

    Fortunately, I only had to wait a few days to rejoin some of my Team Maccabi GB squad members on duty for London Maccabi Vale.

    There was lots of broken Ivrit spoken on the pitch against a St John’s Wood side who didn’t know what had hit them. Indeed their middle-order batsman Ken was not best-pleased.

    Not even the sight of a green top at Rowley Lane could dampen my enthusiasm and I was delighted when our skipper Neil Lederman lost the toss, which meant we could bat first.

    However, my joy was short-lived as I feathered one to the wicket-keeper with just four runs to my name. I’m in the midst of a run drought but I’m too long in the tooth to let it affect me. I’ve made plenty of starts but no significant scores. I feel in good nick and believe runs are around the corner. And as long as the team keep winning I’m a happy man.

    * With 10,000 top-class athletes competing at the recent Maccabiah, it was no surprise to hear that Maccabi Tel Aviv invited a number of players who had impressed for their countries in the football, to train with them.

    Eight Maccabians, believed to be from South Africa, Canada and America, joined Maccabi’s under-19 team, while several more were absorbed by the club’s respective U16s and U17s.

    Ran Elias, who heads Maccabi’s scouting department, oversaw the project. He said: “A few months ago, we analysed which players would be coming to play at the Maccabiah, specifically looking at the 16-18 age range.

    “Over the course of the tournament we saw many players from various countries and those who made their mark and lasting impression were invited to join the Maccabi youth department training sessions.

    “Of course we are working in full co-operation with the coaches and the delegation heads. The idea here is to create relationships, follow the progress of players and potentially have them join the club should they meet our requirements while helping them immigrate to Israel.”

    The up and coming Inter Aliyah Football Club — Israel’s first professional football team exclusive to Olim, and currently playing in Liga Gimme - were also on the lookout for medal-winning talent.

    * Best wishes to Maccabi London Lions defender Zac Rose who suffered a double leg break in a pre-season friendly against London Colney.

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