COVID-19 AND THE CHANUKKAH MATCH

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the annual Dreidel tournament had been organized and arranged with a whole different set of rules. The tournament would be made up of sixteen people broken into four groups. Each day one person who emerged as the winner from each group would advance to the next day. That means they would eliminate three competitors a day until there was only four people left to battle it out for the Championship and the spoils that went with the title.

Leo Gersh had made it through to the finals and was nervous. He found himself going to the bathroom more than ever. His main rival Hannah Resnick had also made it to the finals, and the truth was he had never won against her playing dreidel. They had played against each other in the past, and Leo knew she knew how to spin the dreidel with panache.

The other two players who made it through to the finals were Will Sponse and Frankie Levis. Leo was also very familiar with Will and Frankie. They were considered by his peers to be pros when it came to spinning. He could never remember watching them lose a game.

The site of the final elimination match was in a classroom. The floor was cleared and the windows were opened, even if it was December.

The rules were basic, you spun the dreidel on your turn. The highest letter was the Gimmel, the next was the Hay, followed by the Shian, and the lowest was the Noon.

In the first spin, it was Hannah versus Will. Her dreidel landed with the Gimmel and Will looked distraught as he ended up with a Shian. Next it was Leo versus Will. Leo watched in amazement as his dreidel spun and spun before landing on a Shian. Will twisted his dreidel and it landed on the Gimmel. Will was still alive in the tournament and Hannah was facing elimination.

The organizers called for a quick break and the players went to different corners for strategy talk and to have a drink.

When they returned it was Hannah versus Frankie. It was obvious from the way he was acting that Frankie could have cared less about being in the tournament, he was happy with the prize pack for just playing. He lost to Hannah and left the room. He had decided to withdraw from the tournament and left the area.

It was now between Leo, Will, and Hannah. One of them would be the Champion Dreidel player of 2020. They all looked at the bounty as the next round of play began. It was Will against Leo. The match was close with both guys landing the same symbol. In the middle of the game, Leo felt a tremendous urge to go to the bathroom, but he hung on and won.

He left to use the washroom and that left Hannah and Will battling it out. When he returned Will was very emotional as Hannah had beaten him. Will really wanted the Grand prize and now it was not going to happen.

Hannah left for the bathroom, and while she was gone the Silver Dreidel was brought out. This was the Dreidel that was used in the finals of the tournament.

There was quiet in the room as Hannah sat down on the floor cross legged and looked at Leo. ‘’I’m going to win the Grand Prize.’’ Leo was shocked. he liked Hannah but he couldn’t believe her bravado. He enjoyed her company and he wondered what the ramifications would be if he won the tournament, would it wreck their friendship. He was focused on the big prize so at the moment it didn’t matter.

Hannah’s first spin landed on the Gimmel and her entourage was ecstatic. Leo’s team watched him closely as he spun and it also landed on the Gimmel. It was time for round two and Leo spun first. He was looking at the Shian. Hannah spun and much to her dismay the dreidel landed on the Noon.

If Leo won the next round he would be Grand Champion. Leo looked at the dreidel and set it in motion. A pin could have dropped in the room, then in a minute of completely lacking in sportsmanship, Hannah knocked the dreidel flying. The judges warned her if she did it again she would be disqualified. It looked like she was going to cry, but Leo knew what he had to do.

This time the dreidel did four rotations before it landed on the Gimmel. The pressure was on Hannah. She looked with disdain at Leo before giving the dreidel a twist and it danced across the floor. She stared intently at it, but it was to no avail, it fell on the Shian, Leo Gersh was the 200 Champion Dreidel Player.

Hannah burst out into tears, she was not used to losing. Leo tried to comfort her, and even offered some of his Grand Prize winnings, but she refused them and ran out in a huff.

Leo was given a faux gold dreidel and all his earned winnings. He had his picture taken and the tournament was finally over. Leo could go home and enjoy his victory.

When he got home there was a major discussion about winning and losing and the importance of always being a humble winner and a gracious loser.

It didn’t take long for Leo to head to bed. It had been one heck of an exciting four days. He couldn’t believe he won. As he went to sleep he kept thinking about all the cookies he would eat from his winnings and that being a four year old was the greatest thing in the world.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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