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"Gib'em the Ball!"
                                           “Gib’em the Ball!”

Jewish Quarterback – it sounds like an oxymoron - but that was the topic that Shabbos morning of the rabbi’s Torah commentary.  Actually, I should qualify that.  It wasn’t so much a part of the commentary, but more a humorous, “warm-up act” (story) that served as a prelude to his actual Dvar Torah.

As I recall, the rabbi began by citing a Jewish quarterback from years past.  His name was Sid Luckman.  Luckman was a New Yorker who played for Columbia University in the mid-to-late 1930s.  He is considered, by many, to be the first of the great T-formation quarterbacks.  After a stellar career with the Columbia University Lions, he was drafted by the Chicago Bears. 

It seems that Luckman had a zayde who ran a tailor shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  Luckman wanted his grandfather to come and see him play football for Columbia.  But the elder Luckman was: “Shomer Shabbos”.  He wouldn’t even think of watching his grandson play football on Saturday, let alone ride in a car or take public transportation to Baker Bowl (where Columbia played their home games) to see him play a sport he knew nothing about.

Several years go by, Sid Luckman is now playing for a professional football team called the Chicago Bears (President Coolidge, years earlier, when informed that George Halas’s Chicago Bears were coming to Washington to play the Washington Redskins, is reported to have said, “That’s great, I love ‘animal acts’.”

In any event, as it turns out, the Bears are in town to play the vaunted New York (football) Giants.  Now, as the pro football teams play on Sunday, Luckman’s Zayde can finally come to Yankee Stadium to see his grandson play.  Luckman is thrilled.  He gets his grandfather a ticket right on the 50-yard line. 

In the first half, the celebrated Giants’ defense completely throttles quarterback Luckman and his Bears offense.  Luckman is literally “running for his life” as he’s chased around the backfield by the Giants’ defenders. 

When the Second Half begins, it’s more of the same.  The elder Luckman, sitting in his seat on the 50-yard line, doesn’t understand what’s going on.  Why are the members of the opposing team chasing his grandson all over the field?  He surmises that it must have something to do with the ball (football) that his aynikl is carrying. 

There reaches a point where Sid Luckman’s grandfather can’t take it anymore.  Just as his grandson is being thrown to the Yankee Stadium turf, once again, there’s a cry from the stands; it’s Sid Luckman’s grandfather.  He yells out, “Sidney, Sidney, gib’em the ball, I’ll buy you another one!”

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