An interview with 4th year, S3 Co-Maccabiah Captains, and best friends Nathan Friedman-Lowenthal & Noam Erez
Nathan and Noam have been best friends since they were two years old, playing in Yad b’ Yad at the Osher Marin JCC. From tossing around a ball as toddlers to tossing around their favorite rap lyrics as teens, these two have literally grown up – are growing up – together. Now living 3,000 miles apart (Noam’s family moved to Florida in 2016), these two menschy athletes reunite at The 6 for a month every summer and are OCA16 (Original California) athletes, meaning they have been at camp every summer since opening in 2016. This summer, they were named Maccabiah Co-Captains for 3rd Sesssion. Following is their refection of that experience:
What did it mean to you to be selected as Maccabiah Captains together?
Noam: After the first year at 6 Points, we made a pact that if one of us were ever named Maccabbi Captain we’d decline it unless we were both named captains; we weren’t concerned about the competition, but about one of us getting recognized and not the other. We never even considered being co-Captains an option.
Nathan: It takes the pressure off. It’s way better with your best friend, someone you’ve known and played with since before you could hold a basketball. It was fun knowing you have someone to rely on.
Noam: We had chemistry. We knew exactly what each other wanted to do. For example, we were both injured and immediately thought of the same person who could do the half-court shot, besides us. Also, I trusted Nathan to carry my load.
What was it like to win together?
(Both talking at the same time; hard to distinguish who’s talking!): Absolutely bonkers. It was amazing. Our counselor captain, Aaron, we met him last year as a CIT, he ran straight toward Bally* and we ran to each other to hug. People tell us that the photos look like we won an Academy Award. We might have cried. We celebrated for about 30 seconds and then we went to comfort the opposing team’s captains.
*Bally McBallerson is the Maccabiah Trophy that the winning captains get to sign.
Any advice for future captains?
Nathan: Get good sleep before the games. Seriously. Sleep as much as you can beforehand.
Noam: Don’t watch Madagascar 2 until…well, just very late. You have to miss an elective to do it.
Anything other highlights about being at camp and taking on leadership roles together?
Nathan: To me, one of the best things is getting that recognition together. Also, and not necessarily related to Macabbiah, is sharing my great friendship with Noam with other really close friends at camp. It’s a dream, living and playing with my best friends, all together.
Camper Maccabiah Captains are nominated by coaches and staff at camp based on their character and embodiment of our core values. Captains need not be the loudest leaders or the finest athletes, but more importantly are leaders by example and role models for their peers, both young and old. Once selected as a captain, these leaders are expected to continue up-holding camp values year after year, providing support and guidance for future captains.