Israel’s Women’s Lacrosse Team recently gave the world an inspiring lesson in sportsmanship.
The team recently competed in the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championship in Peterborough, Canada. In the playoffs against Kenya’s national team, Israel won handily, 13-4. But instead of rejoicing in their victory, the Israeli players left the game disturbed. They realized that they’d enjoyed an unfair advantage: while the Israeli players wore state of the art sports shoes with cleats, their Kenyan opponents wore plain old gym shoes.
After the game, three of the young Israeli players called their parents asking if they could help pay for new shoes for the Kenyan players. Without proper cleats, the Kenyan players found themselves sliding in the muddy parts of the field. One Israeli player, Ella Duvdevani, in particular was in a position to help. Her father Michael owns a ped-orthic clinic in the US. He was concerned about long-lasting damage the Kenyan players might be doing to their feet by playing in improper shoes.
That night, Michael Duvdevani called the team’s coaches, committee members and some other parents, and soon the parents of the Israeli players were all pitching in to buy new shoes for the Kenyan team. They asked the Kenyan coach for a list of each player’s shoe size and asked them to keep the gesture secret overnight.
It wasn’t easy to find so many specialty shoes at such short notice. The Israeli team turned to a specialty store which stayed open much of the night in order to source the shoes and fill the order quickly. By the following morning, the Israelis had bought shoes for each member of the Kenyan team. The next day, the Israeli team surprised their Kenyan friends on the field; each team member gave a bag containing a brand new pair of shoes to their Kenyan counterparts. It was an emotional moment, with the Israeli and Kenyan players hugging and crying together.