At 7 PM Israeli time (or, as the rest of the world prefers - 19:00), Team USA took on Team Israel in the Maccabiah Games (also known as the Jewish Olympics). The Games are a competition as much as they are an opportunity for Jews from around the world to celebrate an ancestry that has had perhaps the most profoundly disproportional influences in human history of any group of people. From their obsessive written historical tradition to their contributions in the fields of ethics, music, literature, and religion, the Jews really have a lot to be proud about their ancestry.
And so, a one-loss USA squad took on another one-loss squad from the home country. Both squads were resoundingly impressive throughout the Games, rating several blowout victories along the way. The final game proved to be as exciting as hoped, with USA leading for most of the game but Israel hanging around and keeping things uncertain until the end.
Israel even led late, forcing USA to come back to send the game to overtime. And in the extra session, the Americans proved too much for the defending gold medal champions, winning the night 95 to 86.
Tennessee can take particular pride in this win. Not only was Tennessee Volunteer head coach Bruce Pearl at the helm, his son Steven Pearl made several key defensive contributions throughout the Games and Dan Grunfeld (son of Ernie Grunfeld) was the high scorer on the night for USA with 25 points. And Dan's play late in the game was primarily responsible for USA's comeback that sent the game into overtime.
So, a UT-coached team with a UT player and the son of a UT player took home the gold. It's really hard to ask much more - other than perhaps having Bruce Pearl wear the gold medal while shirtless at a Lady Vols game this year.
Hey, I can hope...