Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remembering Greg and Yettie

In 1997, tragedy struck the 15th Maccabiah during the Opening Ceremony, when the bridge collapsed as the athletes prepared for the festivities. Among those who perished where Greg Small and Yettie Bennett, and while I never had the honor of making their acquaintance, their memory forever remains a blessing for all the Ten-Pin Bowlers.

Today was the 12th anniversary of that tragic event, and it was appropriate for the bowlers and other guests to pay tribute to Greg and Yettie at a memorial set up at the base of the bridge that now leads athletes to the stadium. It seems as though that event has served as a catalyst for helping all the bowlers create a community of friends and family, not just competitors. While you never want to lose anyone, especially in such a tragic way, it is important to look at the impact they have made on so many.

We also remembered Greg and Yettie during our Opening Ceremony. Even during a joyous time of opening the competition, we don’t forget the sacrifice they made and the strength they have given our bowling family.

The day ended on a slightly more enjoyable note: falafel. In Netanya, there is a nice square (Kikar Ha’atzmaut, Independence Square) that has a few shops and restaurants, as well as a couple places to exchange money. By the time we got back from the memorial – after switching busses in the middle of the highway since our first driver apparently didn’t know where the Ramat Gan Stadium is – it was after 9:30 p.m. and we were a little hungry. Lunch was served at the bowl at 3 p.m. (and it was a fight just to get that arranged, as is everything else with the bowling center) and dinner just got lost. So we took the time to walk the square and grab a late bite. I was not passing up the chance to have Falafel B’Lafa. I do declare there will be a few more of those before we leave.

Tomorrow is our first day of competition. Men bowl in the morning and ladies follow in the afternoon. If I have time, I’ll post from the bowling center.

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