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Jerusalemites take the gridiron

by greg April 14 2008
SportsHolidaysThings to do

bigblueoffense.jpg

We know that for those of you who grew up on sports (not all English-speaking immigrants to Israel are hippies), Jerusalem doesn't have as much to offer as you're used to. No baseball, no hockey, no women's synchronized swimming – but there's plenty of football. Not soccer – football. Tackles, pads and everything.

Yes, Jerusalem is the proud owner of the very-first-ever Israel Bowl Championship! Less than two weeks ago (before the launch of Jerusalemite), Haifa came to town and battled the hell out of the field and ball with the hometown Big Blue Lions.

The championship game was the culmination of over a year of hard work, on and off the field. Some 90 percent of league players are natives, and all live here (unlike the baseball league's importing of really, really good baseball players). Jerusalem claimed the league's best record, at 8-1, with its only loss in a midseason game against Hiafa. From October to March, the team practiced and played at Kraft Family Stadium (Kraft of the Boston Krafts) – the nice place to play next to the municipal Sacher Park.

kraftandsteve.jpg

Now if anyone is bummed that he or she didn't know, missed games or wants to play next year, there's no reason to get down. The next season will start up again some time after the fall holidays, so you can still go back to America to celebrate leaving Egypt and coming into Israel, then go to America for the summer and then come back for the holidays before you go home again and then... watch football in Jerusalem!

The league is only going to grow, and that means more football for everyone. There was a recent "draft" day at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and more than 60 students expressed interest in playing. This means Jerusalem may have a second team next year (can anyone say "Light Rail Series?").

Oh yes, the game. Jerusalem took it in overtime. Very, very dramatic. You should have been there.

Anyone interested in information or playing should visit the league's site and sign up for rookie training camp to be held during the week of Pesach.

Jerusalem's offense lines up against Haifa in the title game (top), courtesy Mitchell Barak. Bob Kraft shakes hands with AFI president Steve Leibowitz as IFL Commissioner Eric Amkraut and members of Big Blue Jerusalem look on (above), courtesy IFL.

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