Thursday, December 16, 2021

By RealJerusalemStreets

Elder wrote his opinion after watching Miss Universe's final competition broadcast from Eilat with its positive imagery projected to world audiences. 

However, while the international beauty contestants were arriving in Israel, another world championship competition was taking place in Jerusalem.

The 10th Flag Football World Championship games took place in Jerusalem, Israel, from December 6 to 8th. Due to a change in the weather, the finals were held at Teddy Stadium, instead of the entire games at the Kraft Family Sports Complex. A record of 39 teams from 23 countries competed. The USA men and women won the first place trophies again as expected, but Mexico gave them serious competition coming in second in both men's and women's flag football. 

The opening night event was held at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel for an estimated 900 participants, players, coaches, and managers. The program held on the last night of Hanukah started with the lighting of the large Hanukah menorah by Rabbi Aharon Katz, head of the Derech Etz Chaim.

For many of the players from Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Team Neutral, Thailand, and the United States it was not only the first time in Israel and but also experiencing a Hanukah celebration, perhaps even having interaction with Jews. 

The program started EXACTLY on time. I arrived a minute late!

A short video of Jerusalem highlights was shown as the crowd waited for Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion to arrive.  He was very late to welcome the visitors, but they gave him a hero's welcome as he made his entrance.

Because of the coronavirus restrictions, the teams were not able to do any of the usual tourist stops and photo ops similar to the Miss Universe contestants. The footballers were restricted to the sports fields and back to their hotel. 

But the buzz and talk in the hotel ballroom were already of returning visits to Israel. The energy of the teams, seated by their country's flag was exhilarating, their behavior praiseworthy.

The world was hesitant to host due to the situation of the variants of coronavirus. However, Steve Leibowitz the President of AFI American Football in Israel was a driving force behind the games coming to IsraelWinners qualified for July 2022 World Games in Birmingham, AL when flag football is to be included for the first time. 

Tournament sponsors included NFL Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a long-time supporter of American football in Israel and donor of the Kraft Family Sports Campus. Kraft was not able to attend in person but sent a video message shown at the opening event.

Hundreds of young international sportspeople arrived in Israel for the first time, learned about Hanukah, and saw Israeli footballers wearing a kippah. 

Not as glamorous and sexy as a world beauty competition, but thousands watched their international teams playing flag football live from Jerusalem as the broadcast went around the world to fans.

I saw less BDS pressure on these world championship games than the Miss Universe pageant, maybe the sport was lucky to get less attention.

But the World Championship Flag Football games were a great success. Even the last game ending in cold and rain could not ruin the event. After all, what's a little mud in when we are talking about football. 

The final men's game is here, the others can be found on YouTube.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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