EDITORIAL: Unity and equality through the Glouberman tournament

America’s only co-ed Jewish basketball tournament isn’t perfect, but it gets the big things right


By The Boiling Point Editorial Board

There’s something in the air during the five days of Glouberman, when the East Coast yeshiva league — formally known as the Metropolitan Yeshiva High School League — invades the West Coast. An indescribable energy fills the school as Shalhevet hosts more than 200 kids and their coaches for a basketball tournament at the beginning of November.

The tournament remembers Steve Glouberman z”l, whose love of Shalhevet and basketball inspired beautiful Jewish bonding over his beloved sport. And it is wonderful. Congratulations to everyone who made this year’s games such a wild success.

For one, they took place on the same weekend as the Cooper Invitational Tournament, held at Cooper Yeshiva H.S. in Memphis, Tenn. That meant that in all, 35 teams got to participate in basketball that brought Jews together that weekend — strong teams, weak teams and everyone in between. Steve Glouberman would have been proud.

The Shalhevet boys’ team did not face terribly difficult competition this year at Glouberman, blowing out every game it played in, some by 40 points or more. They are, however, ranked only No. 2 by Jewish Hoops of America, behind Magen David of Brooklyn, N.Y. Magen David won the Cooper tournament this year. So Sarachek will be the chance for the victors of Glouberman and Cooper to face off.

Perhaps most significant, Glouberman again took a stand for co-education as the only Jewish basketball tournament that’s co-ed. There are the boys’ tournaments in Memphis and New York, and there is the girls-only tournament hosted by RASG every year in Florida.

At Glouberman there were more girls teams than boys teams this year.

Like everything, Glouberman has room for improvement. The gym is too small and seating was handled awkwardly, and too last-minute to seem fair. The tournament is too big. There are too many games for such a short period of time; SAR played after Shalhevet on Saturday night, and their game ended at 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning. This meant that they had to play their championship game less than 12 hours later, and while we’re sure the Firehawks would have won anyway, the game would have seemed more fair.

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All the girls teams played seriously, and we congratulate especially the SAR team that won. Once again the Steve Glouberman Tournament proved that a Jewish girl can be passionate about, talented at and involved in competitive sports while also adhering to standards of Jewish observance and the values those standards reflect. This is a kiddush Hashem, and something of which all of us should be proud.

The late hour was also unfair to the SAR and TABC coaches, to the hosts who had to stay up late to make sure their kids got home safely, and to the fans who wanted to support their teams.

Still, the tournament was a smashing success. With a little improvement, who knows? Maybe it could become the most popular Jewish basketball tournament. Maybe even more anticipated — and defining — than Sarachek.