It has been an exciting time for PPI-ME in Northern Israel! The 16-and-under Nahariya/Tamra All-Stars team just won the league championship, and in very decisive fashion: the girls finished the regular season undefeated (20-0).
For every girl on the team, it was the first time winning a championship; the fact that it was with this team made it even more special. “We worked so hard all season. Every practice and every game we were pushed by one another and our coach (Dor Dayan). It’s an amazing feeling to have it end in a championship,” says May Zinger (15, Nahariya). “For most of the season we knew we were doing well and we felt it on the court, but none of us really thought about winning the league. We all just wanted to get better individually and as a team during practices and games,” explains Dafna Blianski (16, Nahariya).
The fact that this team of players and coaches tirelessly worked to keep getting better, despite being undefeated, is the reason they finished the regular season in the top spot in the league. Coach Dor Dayan never let the girls get complacent about the championship and constantly looked for ways to keep their mind off it. Every person on this team continued coming to practice and working hard individually so that they could be a better team.
On Sunday, April 30, 2017, the team came together for what they thought was a normal practice to get ready for playoffs, which start in a few weeks. What they didn’t know is that Ruti (chairman of the club) and Dor had a surprise for them. The girls had already finished first in the league, but it had not been acknowledged or celebrated. So, with 30 minutes left in practice, Ruti walked in with an enormous chocolate cake, to congratulate the girls on winning the championship!
Everyone was surprised and excited – who doesn’t love chocolate cake? Ruti made a short speech saying how proud she was of the girls and what the team meant to PPI – ME and to the club. Dor also added a few short words about their commitment and dedication to the team all season. And of course, he reminded the girls (in typical coach Dor fashion) that the season isn’t over yet. They have worked all year for the opportunity to compete in the playoffs, which are fast approaching, and they must continue to work hard. “I am so proud of this team and what they have accomplished all year. The girls worked hard for one another and that is what is most important to me. But, it isn’t over yet. We will see how far we have come as a team once playoffs start. That will be the real test!” says Coach Dor Dayan.
If there is anything I have learned from working with this team, it is that they are never satisfied and they always keep working…for one another and with one another.
GOOD LUCK IN THE PLAYOFFS!