JOSL engages teenagers in basketball

Park students participate regardless of skill


Hannah Wolk

Sophomore Gerald Perelman dribbles the ball in his Jewish Organized Sports League game Feb. 12. His team lost the game 67-30.

Dani Orloff

As senior Jared Zirkes prepares for the Jewish Organized Sports League season this year, he thinks about the opportunity to play in a basketball league without worrying about talent on the court.

Zirkes said he looks forward to his third year playing in the Jewish Organized Sports League (JOSL).

“Even though (our team is) not very good, it is fun to just get out there and play basketball,” Zirkes said. “None of us are really good enough to play in a legitimate league, so getting out on the court and having a place to play is fun.”

According to youth and camping manager at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Ally Greenstein, multiple teams compete in the league.

“(The number of teams) varies year-to-year,” Greenstein said. “Last year we had eight, this year I’m hoping for more. The program should only continue to grow.”

Zirkes said the league plays short court, which poses difficulties while on the court.

“We just show up and play basketball,” Zirkes said. “It is four-on-four because we play on a short court, as opposed to a full court, so it is really tight.”

Greenstein said the JCC established the league over 15 years ago.

“(The league began in) 1998,” Greenstein said. “This year, JOSL will be six weeks of regular game-play. From there, we will have three weeks of single-elimination playoffs.”

Senior Jesse Schwartz said his team focuses on having fun, rather than winning.

“My favorite part is how (my team hasn’t) won a game in a year and a half and the game we did win I wasn’t there for, so it’s been a lot of fun,” Schwartz said. “We have never made it to the championships.”

According to Greenstein, each member of the winning team in JOSL receives a personalized prize.

“The winners of the championship get a specially-designed championship t-shirt with the year their team won,” Greenstein said.

Greenstein said the JCC focuses on filling the gap between the basketball league for children and the basketball league for adults.

“Growing up, teens have many opportunities to play sports in school, or in community recreation leagues,” Greenstein said. “At the JCC, there were opportunities to play basketball as a child and as an adult, but never as a teen. JOSL is a chance for Jewish teens to come together from all over and play an organized sport.”

For more information about the league and registration, visit the JCC website.