Maccabi and the Dolphins
The United States will be participating in the 19th Maccabiah Games this July. The Games are the world’s third largest international sporting event, held every four years in Israel and sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. The first Maccabiah games took place in 1932 and the 19th Maccabiah is expected to feature over 9,000 athletes from over 55 countries participating in over 30 sports.
The US Maccabi Rugby program and Santa Monica Rugby Club have a remarkable history together, with every US team since 1989 being heavily represented by Dolphins, many of them SMRC Hall of Famers.
An amazing statistic is the leadership of the Maccabi Team has been primarily provided by SMRC players .
The team was captained by former US Eagle. SMRC Captain and SMRC Hall of Famer, Shawn Lipman, in 1993 and 1997. Shawn played in 5 Maccabiah Games, leading the 1997 team to the Gold Medal. Shawn is now Head Coach of the 2013 team and will participate in his 6th Maccabiah games.
Gary Puterman, former Eagle , SMRC Hall of Famer and SMRC Captain is the only player in history to have won three gold medals in Rugby at the Games. Gary was the captain of the 1989 South African side that won the tournament, after a draw with the United States in the pool rounds. Playing against Gary in that game were many SMRC players: Jim Dreyfuss SMRC Hall of Famer, and Club President, Gavin Lipschitz, Joel Schiffman, , Jeff Davidson, and Dan Kern . Gary came out of retirement with Shawn Lipman in 2009 and won a Bronze Medal for the United States after scoring a legendary try in the medal match.
Stuart Krohn former Hong Kong International, SMRC Hall of Famer, Captain and Head Coach was a key member of the 1993 team that won the silver medal and returned 4 years later to win the Gold Medal. Stuart went on to be Head Coach of the US Maccabi Rugby team that won silver in 2005.
Aaron Blatt , SMRC Hall of Famer and Captain of the Dolphins two time National Championship teams , captained the team to Silver in 2005, with other Dolphins, Aaron Davis and Moshe Pitzele . Aaron was selected to represent the US Eagles and chose to lead the US Maccabi team instead.
The 2009 team saw 4 Santa Monica players take the field, with Jesse Taylor , Shawn Lipman, Gary Puterman and Adam Zelasny. Adam was the Captain of the team
With the 2013 team in the final stages of preparation for Israel, Santa Monica is well represented again, with Aaron Davis having been selected as Vice Captain, and Ross Silverman and David Cohen being selected to the side. Marc Stcherbina our Santa Monica coach has been working with Shawn Lipman as a consultative coach.
The fact that every Maccabi Rugby team has been either captained or coached by a Dolphin since 1993 speaks volumes to the bonds and ties that we enjoy as a club with this storied rugby program.
We wish our boys all the best in their quest to be the first team to win Gold Medals in both sevens and fifteens. Go Dolphins!