How to Stop the Hate –
Here is one thing we can all do to bring more light to the world.
When I was a kid I would ride my bike to the playground. I would get there in the morning and stay until dark. I loved the game of basketball and was eager to improve my skills. I would practice my dribbling on the sidelines for hours. During occasional breaks in between the games I would run onto the court to get up some shots. When the games would resume I was back on the sideline continue practicing while watching the older players on the court.
Why did I stay there all day, not even getting any actual playing time? Yeah, I would learn new moves from watching the older players but ultimately I found out that if I stayed long enough I would finally get a chance to play full court with them. It was known as “the last run” meaning it was getting too dark to play outside and most of the players had packed up and went home. Short enough guys, they would let me play. This was the highlight of my entire day. I dribbled all those hours in the sun just waiting for those few minutes before dark set in.
One day my teacher said to me, “Tamir, I drive by the park and I see you there. Aren’t you scared? You are wearing your yarmulke and tzitzit. You are the only Jewish kid there.”
I responded to her: “Yes, I am the only Jewish kid there but I feel right at home at the park.”
As I reflect on that time in the park, I can’t even recall a single time when someone acted negatively towards me or said something derogatory. Not about my religion or culture. How could this be?
One of the answers is because in basketball what matters is the following: work ethic, sportsmanship, resilience, dedication to the game, respecting the game and other players, communication, relationships, team work, tenacity, and love for the game. These are the virtues that matter most and mean the most.
Ethnicity, race, culture, religion, upbringing – those things that mean so much everywhere else don’t matter on the court if you can act with the above mentioned qualities.
So my suggestion is to educate our children in environments that emphasize those positive attributes that people can learn and develop and exhibit. On the qualities that are respected and valued on the basketball court that don’t have anything to do with race, religion, appearance etc.
When we put our kids in environments where they gain attention and respect for positive characteristics that are universal and attainable – they will be much more likely to give off to the world positivity and love rather than hatred.
Whether it is basketball or any other healthy outlet where character matters above all – that is where we need to be and where our kids need to be.
When then happens,teachers won’t need to ask “Aren’t you scared?”
This is why I support Tamar Slay’s The We Got Next Project which is teaching young athletes positive values, and why I am so excited to be hosting him at camp this summer in Jerusalem where more athletes will get a chance to learn from him.
Blessings to All.