Category Archives: Sport

Israel, boycott the Olympics!

The Israeli Olympic squad should withdraw from the London Games, starting next Friday.

Seeing as the International Olympic Committee is clearly more concerned about upsetting Islamofascist anti-Semites than marking, with a minute’s silence, the memory of the 11 innocent Israelis slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games, we have no place there.

As for the “personal moment” to be held by the London Games Chairman, Lord Coe (right), he can stick it up his pompous posterior. I always preferred Steve Ovett.

The absence of Israeli athletes would hardly be a blow to the credibility of these Olympics, as the US and Soviet Bloc boycotts were to Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984.

But we Jews are far better at guilt than games – never demonstrated more conclusively, or hilariously, than in this Hasmonean Boys Sports Day video (I particularly enjoyed the ‘efforts’ of the high jumpers, over a bar that my grandmother would have walked over, first long jumper and the relay baton handoff) – and an Israeli withdrawal at this late stage would send out an extremely potent message.

Of course it would be horrible for those athletes whose dreams, and years of training, would come to nowt – they would have to be recognized, and compensated, by the State for their great personal sacrifice – but Israel must do what is right: Jewish blood is not cheap, and to participate in the London Olympics, after the IOC’s shameful gutlessness,  would be a disrespect to the 11 martyrs and their families.

I, for one, will not be watching these Games. And should Islamic terror rear its diabolic head during their course, I trust that the IOC and that tosser Coe . . . apologies, Lord Coe will be consistent and refrain from public condemnation and/or commemoration of its victims.

[For a 15-minute memorial service, followed by a minute’s silence, go to www.minuteformunich.org at 10.45 (UK time) next Friday morning.]

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Luzon my religion: Israel’s not-so-beautiful game

“No need for excuses,” quipped a fellow Anglo-Israeli on the phone, as I was attempting to explain why I was at Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Rishon Le’tzion (and thus couldn’t hear him). And Ron had not missed the irony. There was, indeed, a need for excuses!

While going to football in England is an Update status-worthy event – “At the Emirates,” “the Lane,” etc (though less, it must be said, “Elland Road”) are oft seen on Facebook – only the most secure will own up to attending games in Israel, or even to watching them on telly.

All of which makes it all the more curious that everyone here is up in arms about the mass brawl at Hapoel Ramat Gan vs. Bnei Lod on Friday afternoon (Haaretz), surely the most entertainment ever witnessed on an Israeli football pitch . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIFz0uf2I-o

I had been trying to tell Ron that, as the (not-so-proud) owner of a Maccabi Tel Aviv season ticket, I had no choice but to go to games. If there is some way of measuring such things, however, I am confident that the ticket represents one of the worst ever returns on 1,200 shekels (around two hundred pounds).

The excuse for my moment of madness was that I had just moved to within a few hundred metres of Bloomfield Stadium, the home of Tel Aviv’s biggest clubs, Hapoel and Maccabi (I chose the latter because I am forbidden from wearing red). And it is a measure of the wretchedness of the Israeli soccer experience – the football is crap, the officials are worse, and the spectators are largely odious, knowing nothing about The Beautiful Game – that, when I am at Bloomfield, I find myself daydreaming about wet, blustery evenings at Hendon FC.

“There’s only one Itzik Zohar . . .
one too many.”

While it is not only Israeli footballers who are knobs, they don’t have the excuse of the Bests, Gascoignes and Cantonas, or even of the Collymores, Di Canios and Balotellis, i.e., that they can play. Strutting, play-acting tossers and prima donnas like the ars’s ars, Itzik Zohar (right, now a TV pundit) – widely considered by Crystal Palace fans (this one, for instance) to be one of the club’s worst ever signings (no mean feat, I can tell you!) – and my own personal bête noire (having had to suffer him all season), Maccabi captain Barak Itzhaki, don’t have any such excuse.

What I have, however, gained from my season ticket is an understanding of why Israeli football fans leave piles of garinim (sunflower seed) shells on terrace floors – it gives them something to do for 90 minutes (I, too, have now adopted the custom) – and familiarity with a wide variety of Hebrew songs, from Mi shelo kofetz adom (Whoever doesn’t jump is red [i.e., Hapoel]) to Ima shelachem zona (Your mother is a whore), nearly all sung to the identical tune. Indeed, 90 minutes at Bloomfield makes a visit to the nearby Ramat Gan Safari entirely unnecessary.

“If they were at all capable of reflection, the monkeys who booed [Ran] Ben Shimon out [of Maccabi Tel Aviv] – following Saturday’s home defeat to Kiryat Shmona, ironically his former charge that got him his position – will come to regret their mindlessness. A 38-year old coach who, last season, took the relative nobodies from the northern border to 3rd place, in their very first season in the top flight, will obviously go on to greater things. His successor, Avi Nimni – however great a player for Maccabi – probably won’t.”

I published the above – in Ran Ben Shimon: A Deeper Malaise – on November 3, 2008. Earlier this month, Kiryat Shmona clinched its first ever championship – the first to be won by a club outside Israel’s three major cities in nearly 30 years – under Ben Shimon (who rejoined the club as coach in April 2009). And, no, Avi Nimni didn’t.

While it is poor taste to say “I told you so” (but I’ve started so I’ll finish), the malaise to which I referred in that second post to melchett mike was not just of players and fans, but of Israeli football as a whole. It starts at the very top, with Israeli Football Association chairman Avi Luzon (and family) – more dodgy than Ken Bates after a little tamper with the wheels of his Zimmer frame – and is encouraged by media coverage of the most moronic kind, giving Zohar, Eyal Berkovic and Eli Ohana, the dickheads of the “double pass,” free rein to puff up their already over-inflated egos (see Moti, you ain’t no Motty!)

. . . and there is only one "Special One."

Ohana (right) was wonderfully lampooned in a recent Yediot Aharonot article – showing that it is not only snooty English olim who are fed up with the know-it-all local football coverage – for his studio criticism of the tactics of Real Madrid coach, José Mourinho:

“As the inhabitants of Blah-Blah Land, we have got used to the idiotic nonsense of blabbermouth commentators, but there is a limit even to chutzpah. Sitting there is [Ohana] the coach of the Israeli youth team, the big shot who succeeded, in his last examination in the league, in relegating Kfar Saba to the second division – of a calibre that, even in the Maccabiah (against Jewish teenagers who looked more likely to win a bible quiz), had to make to do with the bronze medal – and he is giving a lecture on football to the coach who has won the Champions League twice, taken six domestic championships in three different countries, with a seventh in a fourth on the way. It is almost like [Israeli singer] Avihu Shabat criticising John Lennon or [comedian] Shahar Hasson slagging off Jerry Seinfeld.”

The bottom line is that most Israelis (including TV and media pundits), however much they love the game, don’t – for a reason that I cannot quite fathom – truly understand it (or, at least, not in the same way that we do). This was most apparent, yesterday evening, watching Barcelona vs. Chelsea with half a dozen natives, who were constantly whingeing about the West Londoners playing “boonker” (i.e., defensively). How exactly did they expect them to play, protecting a lead against Lionel Messi and Co. at the Nou Camp, with a place in the Champions League final at stake? With expansive football?!

Needless to say, I won’t be renewing my season ticket.

And there isn’t any proper cricket here, either. Still, there are the women. There is the weather, too. And the food. And golden memories of footballers who could both “mix it” and play . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8kxMnc5KUs

To all readers of melchett mike – whether Maccabi, Hapoel, or even Bnei Yehuda – happy barbecuing!

Accadia kerfuffle: Enough with this football mishigas!

Who says it is only working class goyim who fight on holiday? Or that only Catholics and Protestants mix religion, football and violence?

No. It is not only in sectarian Glasgow that they have Troubles . . . oy, have we got them too! And the tattle amongst Anglo-Jewish Passover holidaymakers in Israel this past week has been the fracas, during the North London derby, between English guests at the pricy Dan Accadia Hotel in genteel Herzliya Pituach (the cost of being a football hooligan has clearly gone up!)

According to melchett mike sources, the cause of the melee – during the course of which one hotel guest was punched in the face by another and then, in more typical North-West London Jewish hard man style, bitten (yes, bitten!) by his friend – was a disputed front row seat for Tottenham v Arsenal, shown on a big screen at the 5-star establishment, a few miles north of Tel Aviv.

English Passover guests in the Accadia pool room

One such source (or, rather, snitch . . . ex-Hasmo of course) says that the two assailants – at least one of whom he believes to be from Hampstead Garden Suburb, and “in property” – “behaved, and even looked, more like Tony Soprano and “Big Pussy” [appropriately for the biter] Bonpensiero than your typical Accadia clientele . . . even the French ones!”

Accadia security, more used to dealing with suspicious packages than lary Londoners, had to be summoned to calm matters, though tensions continued over the following days. (melchett mike would, naturally, welcome further eyewitness accounts [even anonymous] of the incident by comment below . . . for news purposes only, you understand.)

The standard response (after surprise, i.e., that the volume of food inevitably consumed by the pair had allowed one to throw a punch and the other to bite into anything else) of Anglos at ‘our’ hotel in Tel Aviv – to where the news had spread faster than a plague of locusts – was “What a disgrace!”

Even if such behaviour is rather untypical for your average Anglo-Jewish football fan, it is, nonetheless, unlikely to occur during a screening of the Ashes (cricket) or the Six Nations (rugby union); and it is endemic, for me, of the stupefying loss of all proportion exhibited by so many Anglo-Jewish males towards the game described by Hasmonean’s Legendary French master, not entirely unfairly, as “22 grown men chasing a pig’s bladder.”

In my childhood and youth, no one was more meshugge about football than me. I lived and breathed Leeds United, “going home and away” (including abroad) as soon as I could. But even though I still follow the club’s results keenly, and am founder and “El Presidente” – unelected and unimpeachable, Muammar Gaddafi-style – of the Tel Aviv Whites, I would like to think that, with age (and also, perhaps, time spent in Israel), I have gained some perspective. And it is not merely because I now live over 2,000 miles from Elland Road, or the equally indisputable fact that Leeds are now shite (they were throughout my youth).

Aside from the illusory escape from the mundane, the only thing of any value that my former obsession gave me was the ability, at law school, to memorize scores of cases by association: after all, if the litigants’ namesakes had not featured in the same mid-70s Derby side, how else would I ever have remembered Powell v Lee?!

These days, on coming into contact with Anglo-Jews still living in England – or even just seeing their Facebook updates – I cringe at, and am even sickened by, their all-consuming obsession with football, their seeming inability to discuss virtually anything else, and how they encourage the same in their (male, at least) children.

"Not now, Natalie . . . the footie's on!"

And, on my increasingly infrequent visits to Blighty, I am always flabbergasted at how the most banal snippets of information, on footballer-clients, from a players’ agent acquaintance can so enthral the rapt male audience to which he so conceitedly plays. No one would even notice, I always think to myself, were Natalie Portman to walk in and get her kit off.

I have also observed, on these visits, how even Orthodox rabbis now appear to believe that they will only gain congregant interest if they couch their sermons in football talk (or is it, rather, the only language that they think shul-goers will understand?)

My cousin recently returned from his own visit to London with the tale of how he had witnessed the son of Orthodox friends, in their Hendon back garden, mimicking his footballing hero by crossing himself (though without understanding the significance) every time he took a penalty kick!

My late father, a good sportsman, and uncle, by all accounts one of Irish Jewry’s all-time finest (their ability, tragically, skipped our generation), always instilled in us a sense of proportion when it came to sport (as mere spectator or fan, at any rate). And any thoughts I may have had of my favourite Leeds United player attending my bar mitzvah – as was once de rigueur amongst Anglo-Jews (photographs of proud 13-year-olds and sheepish-looking gentiles appeared in every week’s JC) – would have been swiftly, and rightly, pooh-poohed.

The standard of Israeli football (not to mention commentary) is, of course, very far from Premier League; though, to coin a popular Hebrewism, zeh mah she’yesh (literally, “this is what there is”). But the only folk who display any real enthusiasm for football here are market stallholders and their ilk. Indeed, most Israelis with any education to speak of would not dream of exposing their children to the aggression, racism and obscenities seen and heard in this country’s stadia . . . and it is far milder than that found in English grounds.

"Now where did I put those damn dentures?!"

Quite apart from anything else, obsessive following of English clubs, these days, is an exercise in idiocy: The professional game is now no more than Big Business and an ego trip for Russian oligarchs, Arab sheikhs, American tycoons, and – to my particular regret – dodgy wheeler-dealers (some may prefer malevolent old c*nts) like Ken Bates (above). And any loyalty once witnessed amongst footballers, now just a bunch of greedy mercenaries, is a thing of the very distant past.

So what exactly are we now supporting?

Perversely, however, many Anglo-Jews appear to show an even greater interest in football than they (and we, as children) ever did. And how many of them give even a tenth as much of their resources, time and energy to communal, Zionist, or, indeed, any social or charitable causes (i.e., things that really matter) as they do – in season tickets, Sky subscriptions, and related paraphernalia – to ‘their’ football clubs? (Or is it merely that there is a lot more to ‘escape’ from, these days?)

Before dismounting my high horse, to the idiots at the Accadia . . .

Next Passover (if they’ll have you back), you’d be better advised to take an evening tour of the Jewish Quarter (or such like) – we have real heroes here, you know! – or even one last waddle to the buffet than to disgrace yourselves . . . and all of us.

My Sporting Greats XI

[Having a weakness for lists, I compiled the following in response to an invitation from Haaretz sports writer Jerrold Kessel, in his weekend On the Couch column, for readers’ “Dream Teams.” Mine was published in Friday’s paper . . . replete, needless to say, with piss-poor editing – how dare those clowns edit melchett mike! – and typos. The following, with a few additions (essentially photographs and video links), is what I actually sent Mr. Kessel.]

An eleven (plus manager), in more or less chronological order, of sporting characters, events and memories which left their mark on this sports nut . . .

1. Peter Jones  The late BBC Radio football commentator, who always painted the scene so vividly and with such a wonderful turn of phrase, is responsible for my love of the medium (my first career). As a boy, I relished nothing more than listening to Jones’s Welsh brogue, snuggled under the duvet with my ridiculously large first radio. (Listen here to Jones’s report in the immediate aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, from which it is said he never recovered – he collapsed and died, less than a year later, while commentating on the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race.)

2. Derek Randall  The clown prince of English cricket, and the greatest fielder I ever saw. He will be remembered for his brilliant 174 in the 1977 Centenary Test, featuring his defiant cap-doffing to Dennis Lillee (right) following yet another bouncer. I spotted “Arkle” a few years ago, walking around the perimeter of Lords, and just had to go up and say “thanks.” (View Randall in action here.)

3. World Cup Finals 1978  My ‘first’ World Cup. From the wonderful BBC theme tune, to Peru’s opening game dismantling of the Jocks (whose manager Ally MacLeod had been bigging-up their chances), to Archie Gemmill’s wonder goal against the Dutch . . . everything about the tournament, in Argentina, was pure magic to a 10-year old. And England weren’t even there!

Mario Kempes scores for Argentina against Holland in the 1978 World Cup Final

4. Bjorn Borg  The masterful, ice-cool Swede, who would simply glide across the court, was the nearest I ever came to attraction to a male! And his 1980 Wimbledon final victory over John McEnroe – with its incredible 18-16 tiebreak, lasting 20 minutes, won by the American after he had saved 5 match points – was pure theatre.

5. Miruts Yifter  The Ethiopian, nicknamed “the Shifter,” who won 5,000 and 10,000 metre Golds at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, would sit at the back of the field and only “kick” in the final 300 metres, reducing BBC commentator David Coleman to near-hysteria (listen to final laps in links) and me and my father to tears of joy. Yifter would not reveal his age – guessed to be anywhere between 33 and 42 – telling reporters, “Men may steal my chickens, men may steal my sheep, but no man can steal my age.”

6. Botham’s Ashes, 1981  Dismissed for a “pair” in, and as England captain following, the 2nd Test at Lords (with England one-nil down in the series), his heroics thereafter – including the series-changing 149 not out in the 3rd Test at Headingley, 5 for 1 in the 4th at Edgbaston, and 118 in the 5th at Old Trafford – were the stuff of fairytale.

Ian Botham bags another Aussie scalp, during his spell of 5 for 1 at Edgbaston

7. Rugby League Challenge Cup Final 1985: Wigan 28 Hull 24  If there has been a better match in any sport (never mind either rugby code), I haven’t seen it. Enjoy the highlights, featuring Ray French’s exhilarating commentary (“As they say in the north, he could sidestep a thrupenny bit, this lad!”)

8. Paul Gascoigne  A genius of a footballer (for memorable instance), whose off-field antics – for example (and there are many), telling his new employer, the president of Lazio, that he looked like Russ Abbot – are the stuff of legend. And, of course, he cried in Italy.

Gazza celebrates his goal against Scotland, Euro '96

9. Sid Waddell  The wonderfully entertaining Geordie-born, Cambridge-educated darts commentator. During a match at Frimley Green: “There couldn’t be more excitement in here if Jesus Christ walked in and ordered a cheese sandwich!” Brilliant.

10. Geoffrey Boycott  Like French and Waddell, a northerner “worth the entrance money on his own” . . . not for his scientific approach to batting, but his refreshingly outspoken, no-nonsense views (here on Steve Harmison) and “corridor of uncertainty” insight from the commentary box.

11. FA Cup 3rd Round (3.1.2010): Manchester Utd 0 Leeds United 1  Upsetting the Great Satan, then two divisions above, at Old Trafford was a reminder of the special type of joy that only sport can bring . . . and I never tire of watching this.

Leeds players run to Jermaine Beckford following his winning goal at Old Trafford

Manager: Ian Holloway  The Blackpool boss may be considered a strange choice of Sporting Great, but he is a rare beacon of humour and sanity in a sport – now dominated by money – with precious little of either.

I invite readers of melchett mike to add their own Sporting Greats XI – of anyone and/or anything sporting – by comment below.

Operation Grandma: Sharp practice, or merely a mensch?

“Oh, I am so sorry,” I comforted my friend on the telephone on Sunday evening, after she informed me that her nonagenarian grandmother had recently passed away.

“Was it sudden?” I enquire, with sensitivity and interest (they say women like those).

“What? Your family had only just bought her a brand new 42 inch LCD TV?”

Grandma’s passing had, clearly, not been anticipated.

“They paid over 4,000 shekels for it, but only want two and a half?”

I sit up.

“When can I come and see it?”

My very own Mivtza Savta (Operation Grandma) was underway . . .

And Savta’s Sharp LC-42SH7E – or, to be completely accurate, LC-42SH7EBK (it is the black model) – is already enjoying pride of place in my living room (with the trusted Sony CRT [see I love my old TV] which accompanied me on aliya way back in January 1996 having been semi-retired to my bedroom).

Do I feel bad? No.

Was it wrong of me to have negotiated the price down even further, to 2,000 shekels? Perhaps.

Then again, I had been thinking in terms of a 50 inch and, thoughtfully, chose not to trouble the bereaving family with the fact – gleaned from hastily conducted Internet research – that the LC-42SH7EBK doesn’t exactly distinguish itself on AV review forums.

Moreover, I had both the respect and decency not to enquire whether Savta was one of those old dears who would have the telly on in the background from dawn till teeth-out time without so much as five minutes on standby (and what could that do to a Liquid Crystal Display?!)

So, far from being a shameless opportunist – like those so-and-sos who could hardly wait until the end of my grandfather’s shiva to enquire about his house – I have done the grieving family a real favour, and might even be a genuine contender for my very own Mensch of the Month award.

The Ashes series “Down Under” gets underway in a couple of weeks’ time, and I am having a private satellite dish installed just to enable me to watch that greatest of sporting rivalries from the comfort of my Melchett couch (while also using the opportunity to finally rid myself of the curse that is HOT). And when Andrew Strauss takes guard for the first ball, or Jimmy Anderson (pictured) charges across my living room wall to deliver it, I will spare a loving, appreciative thought for Savta . . . zichrona livracha.

Ashes to Ashes . . .

England’s Ashes Turning to Dust

I have no idea how many readers of melchett mike have the slightest interest in cricket, that most noble and fascinating of all sports, but the events of the past few days have given me little choice but to indulge my frustrations.

This time last week, England were one good Test match away from winning back the Ashes from Australia, and holding the little urn (left) for only the second time in twenty years. A victory in the 4th Test at Headingley, the venue most suited to “English-style” bowlers, would have put England two-nil up in the series with only one Test to play.

But, in spite of having lost their best batsman Kevin Pietersen to injury, and with talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff a serious doubt, England’s spineless selectors infuriatingly stuck with the same underperforming batsmen. In fact, England were only one-nil up in the series because the Aussies had fallen way below their usual high standards. But, with the Ashes there for the taking, the English selectors bottled it.

And, surprise surprise, England were bowled out for a pitiful 102 in their first innings and, this afternoon, for 263 in their second. Australia, who scored 445 in the only innings they required, won by an innings and 80 runs. So, the series is tied at one-all, and it is now all down to the 5th and final Test at the Oval on Thursday week. As the holders, the Aussies only require a draw to retain the Ashes.

Ravi Bopara: couldn't play with himself

Bopara: couldn't play with himself

Current openers Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook are probably the best England have. Following them, however, comes Ravi Bopara (right), who has now scored a measly 105 runs in the first four Tests. Quite frankly, he looks like he couldn’t play with himself. Ian Bell, at number four, appears terrified every time he walks down the pavilion steps, while Paul Collingwood, although a tough competitor, is not quite a Test number five. In their combined six visits to the crease during this 4th Test, the gormless trio amassed the grand total of 16 (yes, that’s sixteen) runs. With wicketkeeper Matt Prior – who has batted commendably above himself – having to come in as high as six, it completes a most depressing picture for England cricket fans.

Derek RandallEven if this isn’t England’s worst-ever top order, I certainly can’t recall a poorer one. Perhaps I have unreasonable expectations, having grown up spoilt with the riches of English batting talent: Geoffrey Boycott, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Mike Gatting, Allan Lamb and Ian Botham (even though they rarely all “fired” together). And, in reserve, you had my all-time hero, the mercurial Derek Randall (above left), Graeme Fowler, Chris Broad, Tim Robinson, . . .

The Key to regaining the Ashes?

The Key to regaining the Ashes?

Geoff Miller, England’s insipid head of selectors, is as totally uninspiring in the role as he was in that of spinning all-rounder (in 34 Tests between 1976 and 1984). The central contracts system, too, has a lot to answer for, encouraging perseverance with continual failures, such as Bopara and (to a lesser extent) Bell, rather than giving a chance to in-form county players. Okay, everyone knows I am a Kent fan, but the gutsy Rob Key (above right) – who had scored 123, 270 not out, 25 and 110 not out in his four previous visits to the crease (and with a respectable average of 31 in 15 Tests) – should have been given the nod for this 4th Test.

Anyhow, it is no use looking back. But, if England are to have any chance of regaining the Ashes, Key or 39-year old Mark Ramprakash – averaging over 90 in this year’s County Championship, and who would be playing on his home ground – must be selected for the Oval (I would play them both).

I am praying for a miracle, because, with the Aussies’ tails now up, a minor one at least is what it is gonna take.

Expanding Our Sporting Horizons

Confined to my sickbed this past week and a half, the miserable alternatives offered by HOT (Israeli cable TV) have more or less compelled me to take an interest in professional cycling and to renew a former one in darts.

Watching the Tour de France reach its exhausting conclusion gave me cause to wonder why there has never been an Israeli participant in this, the greatest test of stamina in world sport.

Indeed, it is a question I posed to the kiosk brain trust, on Rothschild Boulevard.

Tour de France 2009 (Stage 8)After all, why shouldn’t the Israeli male, who displays such outstanding determination, resilience and tactical astuteness in his IDF uniform, be able to bring those very same qualities to the hard saddle?

The reply – delivered, of course, by chairman (self-appointed) of the trust, Avi (well known to readers of melchett mike) – was instant.

“That type of professional cycling demands a special type of self-discipline and denial. And it is one that we Israelis simply don’t possess. We are far too sociable, and incapable of such lonely individualism. Your average Israeli might be able to start his Tour training rides at the crack of dawn, but he’ll be off his bike in a flash at the first sight of people drinking coffee, eating croissants and chatting!”

Hankies to the ready . . . but, if Israel has shown us anything, it is that nothing is impossible for “us” anymore. Still, knowing Israelis as I now do, it is hard, for once, to disagree with Avi.

"Jocky Wilson . . . what an athlete." (Sid Waddell)

"Jocky Wilson . . . what an athlete." (Sid Waddell)

Now, I am unashamed to admit that I have always been a big fan of TV darts, especially when accompanied by the quite wonderful commentary of Sid Waddell, a Cambridge University graduate who has shown that you don’t have to be sub-working class to enjoy this most watchable of sports (or games, if you wish to argue the toss). During one particularly tense match, the Geordie proclaimed: “There couldn’t be more excitement in here if Jesus Christ walked in and ordered a cheese sandwich.” Brilliant.

I now started to wonder why no British Jews have ever taken up a career with the arrows. It can be extremely lucrative if you reach the top, you don’t get dirty, and hardly even have to bend down. There are two separate professional world bodies – any self-respecting Diaspora Jew will require one that he doesn’t belong to – and the rule book of neither prohibits consumption of vodka and orange, or even a good pure malt, instead of beer.

But, whilst Jewish guys might be able to handle the dart thrower’s compulsory chains and rings, they would never smoke B&H, Embassy or Rothmans, and would look ridiculous in those “tent” shirts.

Steve "Housewife's Choice" BeatonAnd what about the sobriquets? Amongst world champions, past and present, have been Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow, Steve “Housewife’s Choice” Beaton (right), and Phil “The Power” Taylor.

Who would we have? Neville “The Calculator” Rosenberg? Lionel “Mummy’s Boy” Frankel? Melvyn “The Doormat” Levy? It could just all get very embarrassing.

So, even though I ran it down a little in my last post– as not exactly a competition of sporting giants – perhaps the Maccabiah Games, held “in private” in Israel, is the best sporting option after all for British Jews.