Brooklyn’s Best Build Bridges (Baseball - Hatzoloh vs. NYPD)
On Tuesday, July 6, MCU Park at Coney Island hosted the annual Hatzoloh vs. NYPD summer baseball classic. While I am not a fan of spectator sports, this contest was an exception for a variety of reasons.
Whereas following a sports team for an entire season leads to much batallah, a single game for entertainment purposes is certainly within the realm of reason, just as one would spend time going to a circus or a museum. Also, the proceeds of the game were to benefit Hatzoloh and the police fund which assists families who have had their breadwinner taken from them while on active duty.
The ballgame was played under a beautiful blue sky, as the sea breeze cooled off an unusually hot day. The Star Spangled Banner was sung by a Chazzan, and the contest was underway.
Now batting … Moishe, now batting … Avromi, now batting … Yitzi… there was a certain amount of pride engendered as the beard sporting, peyos flying, tzitzis wearing, pot-bellied over-the-hill team-members stepped up to the plate. Very quickly we learned that these medical volunteers were able to hold their own against NYPD’s Finest.
There were no assigned seats. Some sections were marked for various organizations, yet all felt comfortable sitting among the opposition’s fans. All were there for the same purpose; to enjoy a night out with family while supporting some good causes. There was a strong feeling of camaraderie.
Bringing together Jews of all persuasions and Police of all types goes a long way into healing stereotypical prejudices. Perhaps the officers will not be so quick to write a summons for a Hatzoloh member on his way to perform his duty, perhaps the Hatzoloh volunteer will recognize the difficulty of performing one of NY’s toughest jobs, when they engage one another as “people”, fighting for the same cause.
The officiating was sterling, the errors unfortunate, as the Hatzoloh team pounded out six runs to the mere two of their opponents. Highlights of the event included the NYPD chopper buzzing the field and Chazzan and choir’s rendition of “God Bless America”.
Kudos to the organizers and organizations that brought this Kiddush Hashem to Brooklyn.