The Schechter Westchester Boys Varsity Soccer team made history this past Saturday. With the support of over 90 members of the SW community who traveled to Middletown, NY for Shabbat, the SW Lions took home the Regional title for the first time in SW history.
“All the games this year, but especially the playoffs, it’s just been incredible the amount of people we’ve gotten to the games,” said junior Noah Dunn, who is the goalie for the Lions and a team captain.
The administration organized a Shabbaton, paying for meals and transportation and facilitating prayer services, and more than sixty students, parents, faculty, and administrators joined the team to celebrate Shabbat and cheer on the Lions.
“It was inspiring to see how the values that are taught in the school are practiced outside the school,” Avi Friedman, father of freshman Ethan Friedman and senior Noa Friedman, said.
Lions players said they greatly appreciated the support, but they also enjoyed spending Shabbat with their community. “It made it that much more special that we spent Shabbat with all the fans there,” Dunn said.
As on any typical SW Shabbaton, students were expected to turn in their phones and follow the rules of Shabbat, but were also given the opportunity to get to know students from other grades.
“I hung out with the seniors that were there and the older kids that were there and just everyone that was there. I made a lot of friends with the seniors,” freshman Daniel Goldberg said. Goldberg has a brother on the team, but many of those who attended, such as senior Taylor Salomon, have no family members on the Lions.
“I honestly loved the whole Shabbaton. I had a great time at dinner; I got to sit with some juniors that I don’t really normally talk to,” Salomon said.
On Saturday morning, after praying, the SW fans walked more than a mile and a half together from the hotel to Faller Field. They were accompanied by a police escort, which was arranged by the school for added security. They arrived a little less than an hour early, well before any fans for the Webetuck Warriors, whom the Lions were playing, and had a showing only a little weaker than that of the Regional Semi-Final game the Wednesday before.
“As a player the adrenaline’s pumping, especially at this magnitude of a game,” Dunn said. “It’s really awesome to see when you look into the crowd and see a lot of fans. It’s awesome.”
“The game, obviously, had to be the highlight,” Salomon said. “It was what the Shabbaton was centered around. It is a little inconvenient to give up half your weekend, but it’s really a once in a lifetime thing. It’s definitely worth it to spend some time with your friends, cheer on your classmates, and build a sense of kehilah.”
When asked if she would be coming to the Shabbaton next weekend, when the Lions compete to advance to the State Finals, Salomon said she already has the room booked.