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Finding Your “Playoff Beard”

playoff beard

By Rabbi Yaakov Silverman

A custom has developed in many sports that as playoffs begin so does the beard. Facial hair has become an indication that a team or player is playoff bound. The originator is said to be Butch Goring of the New York Islanders in the 80’s. He may have gotten the idea from Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg. He used to stop shaving at the beginning of Wimbeldon. The 2009 Redwings did it, 2013 Red Sox (against the Cardinals), and the Ben Roethlesberger did it for Super Bowl XL. What is the significance of this strange practice? There is the idea of unity, that each member of the team puts on beards together and kind of adds that to their uniform. However, I think the more compelling explanation is that when there is a beard growing on your face and you are not accustomed to to it, the first thing you notice when you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, eat a meal, and walk outside is that new addition to your face. That serves as a constant reminder to severity and seriousness of playoffs. We all need to grow our proverbial playoff beards in our personal lives. Pick one part of Judaism, your connection to G-d, to your community, to your fellow members of the tribe and work on that focus, dedicate yourself to that cause with a drive that is playoff-like. By doing this we can make a bigger and more profound impact on our lives and our communities and help build and affect others and create a better Jewish nation and world.

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