27 November 2008 - Indo-Jew Bowl IX: Jews 14, Indos 7
Today the residents of Skokie, Illinois continued a time-honored tradition: the Indo-Jew Bowl, a Thanksgiving match-up between two communities not usually known for their football prowess. The game was started by friends from Niles North High School, Class of 1998, and many of the original players come back year after year for good times and friendly competition.
In recent years the Indo-Jew Bowl has enjoyed attention from Sports Illustrated and other national media. Past games have featured canned food drives and even a guest appearance by former NFL referee Jerry Markbreit.
This year the game was special. On the other side of the world, in the Indian city of Mumbai, terrorists had launched a rampage the day before that killed over one hundred innocent people, and were still holding a rabbi and his wife hostage, as well as several other Israeli Jews. The organizers of the Indo-Jew Bowl briefly considered canceling the event, but decided to go ahead and play--to celebrate diversity and friendship in a great American hometown.
The weather was perfect--crisp and sunny--and the game got under way. The Jews won the coin toss but the "Indo" defense held. Then it was the Jews' turn to shut down the Indo attack. Each team traded punts for much of the first half and the game reached halftime in a scoreless tie. In the second half, the Jews broke the game open with a screen pass that became a sprint to the end zone after several broken tackles in the backfield. The Indos responded on their next possession with almost exactly the same play.
With three minutes left, the Jews threw deep and scored on an amazing catch by Yuval Eisenberg, who earned his place in next year's squad. The Indos made it to the red zone on the return trip but could not convert for the score. At the whistle, the score was 14-7, giving the Jews an overall lead of 7-2 in the series. There were hugs and congratulations all around, and everyone went back home to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner.
Almost everyone, that is. One of the Indos--who happened to be Muslim--was hit in the face by the football as he guarded the defensive line late in the game. A local Jewish doctor took the player home and treated him before arranging for him to visit an eye specialist at a nearby hospital. As he left, the player said: "That's what's great about this community. Everybody helps each other."