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SHAMIR WATER POLO - HAPOEL SHAMIR GALIL ELYON


 

Water Polo in the Upper Galilee – The Way It Was:
In the late 1970's and early 1980's, the pool waters at Kibbutz Shamir foamed during the Poel Upper Galilee Water Polo Games, but in 1982 the team ceased to exist, the waters calmed and water polo slowly evolved into a bygone memory.  Twenty-two years later, on September 19, 2004, Kibbutz Shamir celebrated 60 years of establishment.  Within the framework of their celebratory events, Shai Efrat, a member of Kibbutz Shamir and a water polo team member in his youth, proposed an historic water polo game to commemorate those bygone days.  Luckily, the old water polo goal posts had been carefully stored near the kibbutz swimming pool, and one of the players had kept the old team bathing caps in his closet at home.  The organizers of the Shamir 60th Jubilee celebrations agreed to allocate a modest sum for the purchase of new nets for the goal posts and two new water polo balls.

"There's no way to describe the veteran players' excitement during this game; I was very moved," says Shay Efrat "It was as if time had stood still; we all made sure to select the bathing cap with the number we wore as youths.  When the game began, I looked to my right and to my left and saw team members who had played with me more than 20 years ago, lined up in their old but well-remembered positions, each one in his place, ready to begin the game whether he was goalie or right or left wing.  I can't express my feeling at that moment…I absolutely trembled with excitement.  When the game began, I enjoyed every moment, but I was so excited that mainly I just looked around me and exclaimed to myself that it was simply unbelievable."

On an April day in 2005, Shay Efrat sat with some friends and former team mates in the member's club at Kibbutz Shamir, and during this historical meeting, they decided to renew the Upper Galilee's Water Polo activities, after 23 years.
And indeed, on the sunny day of May 15, 2005, the first water polo game in the new era took place, with team members comprising some of the team's veterans as well as young, new players who were coming to play for the first time.
Exactly one month later, on June 15 2005, the first children's training practice took place.

Children/Youth – The beginning:
A group of10-year-olds from Kibbutz Shamir began to train inwater polo, and, in time, were joined bychildren from other kibbutzim and settlements in the Upper Galilee.  Four years later, this team won 2nd place in a national competition in Hungary.  The team captain, Ram Hershkowitz of Kibbutz Dan, who plays on Israel's national youth team, was awarded the competition's outstanding scorer, with 16 goals in four games.  Tomer Efrat, a team player from Kibbutz Shamir, was selectedas the competition'soutstanding player.

Head coach Shay Efrat:  "We've been working hard all year and there were several difficult, disappointing moments alongside feelings of enjoyment and success.    To stand as coach, wearing Israel's shirt, at the main swimming pool in Sentesh Hungary, opposite a crowd of 500 Hungarians and to see the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter showing a score of 5:0 for us, was worth everything.  We work hard and fight for these moments.  When they occur, it's an indescribable feeling.  When we returned from Hungary, the parents on Kibbutz Ayelet Hashahar organized a supper reception at Ayelet Hashahar's swimming pool.  It was a wonderful way to end our trip to Hungary; I'm full of admiration for these wonderful parents.  I told the parents that they should be very proud of their children, who represented the State of Israel and brought it great honor."

Ongoing activities:
The Hapoel Shamir – Upper Galilee Water Polo club has been operating regularly from May, 2005, with the objective of developing water polo in the Upper Galilee.  The association comprises 90 children and adults, allocated as follows:  competitive teams of 14-yr-old, 16-yr-old and 18-yr-old boys, a competitive team of 14-yr-old girls and elementary school water polo teams from Grades 1-6.  In addition, there are competitive men's and women's teams.  The children and youth teams play in a water polo league and have made significant achievements.  The activities take place on Kibbutz Shamir during the summer and at Mevohot Hermon in winter.    In addition, the water polo club operates training camps for all the teams, mental training sessions for competitive team players, and team-building days to maintain mental health as well as physical health.

About the staff:
The professional manager and head coach is Shay Efrat; the adult team coach is Niv Cohen; the children and youth team coach is Oleg Dobush a foreign coach from the Ukraine; the girls' and women's team coach is Yaron Lev; elementary school team coaches are Anat Tal and Dan Pickman.  The club has many volunteers, includingassociation manager, Natalia Yaakobovitz  and association physician, Dr. Liora Gildar.  In charge of transportation are Osnat Gamarseni and Noam Segal, and, of course, the children's parents are also involved in team management.

Unique training methods:
The association utilizes a unique training methodwhere youth and adult team members serve as coaches and trainers for the younger players, thus attaining an inter-age consolidation and granting educational values and behaviors, together with professional personal and team progress.

Water Polo as a motif for health and way of life:
"The importance  of exercising the body and practicing sports is not a point of argument."  So says Dr. Liora Gildar, pediatrician:
"In recent years, obesity among children has been defined as a plague of the 21st century.  This is a plague that causes diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac risk, which, in the past, were only prevalent among adults and today, more and more frequently occur among overweight children.  The sport of water polo is an excellent preventative path and solution to this problem.
"The sport integrates strong, physical activity adapted to children by age.  In addition, water polo has added value in being a group sport that teaches children the values of mutual respect, tolerance, patience and cooperation.
"There is no doubt that children who engage in this sport now will be healthier in mind and body, and this will continue to accompany them in their adult lives."  Dr. Liora Dovenboim Gildar is a pediatric and ADHD expert.
Objectives of Hapoel Shamir - Upper Galilee Water Polo Club
Our short- and intermediate-term objectives are to expand water polo activities as much as possible across the Upper Galilee and, in coming years, to compete for titles against stronger, veteran associations in Israel.

Our long-term objective is to be the leading branch of sport in the Upper Galilee for all ages, including adults; to be a dominant water polo club and to win titles for all ages in Israel; to regularly send both male and female players of various ages to play on national Israeli teams.

Central Accomplishments:
2007:  Began participation in competitive league with 14-yr-old team members.
2009:  Awarded 2nd place in international competition in Hungary (14-yr-olds).
2010:  Awarded semi-final State Cup in water polo (16-yr-olds).
2010:  Awarded 1st place in Spring Competition in Ramat Yohanan (12-yr-old boys).
2011:  Two team members – Ram Hershkovitz & Tomer Efrat – participate on Israel's National Youth team.  Ram Hershkovitz was selected as captain of the national team.
2011:  First time rise to top of the league's top playoffs for 14- + 16 yr-olds.  This tradition was continued in both 2012 and 2013.
2012:  Awarded 3rd place in league for 18-yr-olds; participation in league's top playoffs (18-yr-olds).
2012:  Awarded 3rd place in national adult league (first time we played in this league).
2012:  Awarded 1st place in girls' tournament (up to age of 12), within framework of Atena, Project, for promotion of women's sports (12-yr-old girls).
2013:  Awarded 1st place in Tu BeShvat Tournament (12-yr-old boys).




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