February 16, 2019

GOA Sports Teams Should Move to the Yeshiva League

Eli Berman '22

When a quality sports team at Golda Och Academy comes along, playing large public schools with better teams can greatly diminish their spirit.
For several years, Golda Och’s high school sports teams have played in the Super Essex County league, known shorthand as the SEC. We are in this league because of our location in Essex County, and we primarily play teams within an hour’s commute.
Although the SEC is geographically best for us, Golda Och sports teams would be a much better candidate for the Yeshiva League.
One important advantage the Yeshiva League holds over the SEC for GOA is that many of the students attending different Jewish day schools schools know each other. They may be friends from camp, attend the same synagogue, or have other connections through “Jewish Geography.”
Yeshiva League games, therefore, become not only a chance to watch your school play, but also a social event, greatly boosting attendance and spirit. For instance, should a GOA student know friends from SAR Academy in the Bronx, they would be more inclined to travel to watch their team and cheer them on. In the Yeshiva League, every game would be more exciting due to the rivalry-like ambience.
This attendance is another reason GOA should be in the Yeshiva League. Although GOA does not earn money from ticket sales, it is still important to have a respectable amount of people at the games. We participate in a yearly Tri-Schechter tournament with Schechter Westchester and Schechter Long Island and brings out busloads of people every year.
In the SEC, we barely know of many schools that we play and often have not met one person who attends there. This removes the spirit from games because we have no connection to the opposing school.
Despite the lack of familiarity with opposing schools, current Athletic Director, Mr. Kozar, believes GOA’s placement in the SEC is the right call because the competition level is higher. Although this is true, we are not a school primarily focused on athletics.
Dennis Kozar, Athletic Director at GOA
As a Jewish school whose focus is developing a strong community, it should not be our goal to play the hardest competition we can find. In a high school of a couple hundred students and no tryouts for sports teams, the best athletic ability will most likely not be found.
Although we would definitely be one of the upper-echelon teams in the Yeshiva League, we would certainly not be absolutely dominant, as some schools in the Yeshiva League are much larger and take sports very seriously.

While travel time may become an issue with teams having to travel longer distances, the overall effect that the Yeshiva League could have on school spirit would be completely worth it.

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