Dealing with disappointments, fatigue after games and putting in hard work to be a better player are just some of the challenges professional basketball players face. But this morning (Wednesday), Maccabi Haifa players Chanan Colman and Alex Chubrevich visited children from the Regavim School, who are facing much greater challenges on a daily basis.
The school, located right next to Kiryat Haim’s beach, is a Middle School for Special Education, where teenagers with special needs study. 130 students, ages 12-21, from Haifa and northern Israel, attend the school.
Shani, a hearing impaired girl, used to learn in a public education school, but didn’t find her place there and moved to Regavim.
“It’s a real family here,” Shani raved. “I didn’t feel liked I belonged over there, and the others kept laughing at me, so I felt uncomfortable. I am 17 years-old-now, and here I get the right treatment, so the next thing I want to achieve is to volunteer in the IDF next year.”
Hearing-impaired class coordinator, Irit, is also hard of hearing and has faced adversity in the past as no one wanted to hire her as a teacher.
“She is like a mother to me,” said Shani. “We didn’t get along in the beginning, but it changed and she really understands me and she helps all of us.”
The two Maccabi Haifa players came to the school to speak with the students, and answered their questions (while the conversation was translated simultaneously to sign language). One of the students asked about the importance of home court advantage, and the captain said, “I love our gym, and it’s a great fun to have a place where you can feel at home. I think that it can be seen very well, as we keep winning games at home.”
Alex Chubrevich was asked about the treatment the imports receive with Maccabi Haifa and in Israel in general.
“The imports feel very good here,” Chubrevich said. “They love coming to Israel, and as a player who played as an import in Spain, I can tell you that in Maccabi Haifa they get excellent treatment. The Team is doing their best to give them comfortable conditions.”
The visit concluded with the students taking photos with the Chubrevich and Colman, shooting hoops on the school’s court, and each player received a flowerpot as a special souvenir from the school’s greenhouse.
“The players visit gave all the children a good feeling, and really helped them to feel that they belong, that’s the way I feel anyway,” Shani summed up the visit.