by Esti Weiss
On November 9th, members of the Northwest Yeshiva High School (NYHS) boys’ basketball team competed in the Steve Glouberman Basketball Tournament in Los Angeles.
This event marked NYHS’s first participation in an out-of-state sports tournament in over a decade. This is partially due to the regulations of the Washington state sports league, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).
The WIAA out-of-season regulations state that “Paid or volunteer coaches cannot coach present or future squad members.” In order to work around these regulations, certain actions had to be taken.
NYHS Athletic Director Marcy Park explained the actions that were taken in order to compete in the tournament. “We reached out to Mike Colbrese, who is the executive director of the WIAA… his recommendation was to come in and talk to them during their board meeting.”
She continued saying that “we let them know it wasn’t really about the basketball, but it was really about a cultural opportunity for our students.”
If NYHS were to violate the regulations of the WIAA, there could have been repercussions. “I wasn’t sure what the reprimands would be, like if there would be suspension of games,” said Park.
Head of School Jason Feld was also involved in the process with the WIAA. Feld spoke about the process of working things out with the WIAA “and staying in good standing with the WIAA.”
“They gave us good parameters on how we could do the tournament,” said Feld. “It was very important to me to make sure that anything that we did with the tournament wouldn’t jeopardize our standing relationship with the WIAA.”
For Feld, this tournament was about more than simply basketball.
“I place a tremendous amount of value in experiences like this,” said Feld. “It’s a strategic priority of mine that as a modern Orthodox high school we are exposed to what’s happening with other schools having these events.”
Jacob Levy, a junior who competed in the tournament, shared how the team performed. “We started out 2-0 versus Harkham-GAON Academy and the Shalhevet junior varsity team, then we played two more games versus varsity teams of much larger schools, like TABC and Hebrew Academy of Miami…it was kind of tough but hopefully we’ll rebound next year.”
Levy also talked about his overall experience of the tournament, “It was honestly the highlight of the year for me.” When asked if this is something that should be done in the future, Levy said, “I think we should definitely go back in years to come.”
There appears to be keen interest coming from some of the players with regards to participating in tournaments like this in the future. When asked if NYHS can expect more tournaments like this in the future, Feld said, “I have my eye on Sarachek.” He also indicated that NYHS would be participating in the Glouberman tournament next year including the girls team.
“I want us to compete at the highest levels and have opportunities to show the rest of American Jewry something we can do here in Seattle,” said Feld.