The Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse would like to recognize 17-year-old Max Schechter as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The co-captain of the TABC wrestling team, topped off another great year winning the coveted Aryeh Zinkin Yeshiva Wrestling Award at Wittenberg, last month. When asked about Schechter, TABC wrestling coach Ruven Meir told the JLNJ, “From the onset of Max’s wrestling career, Max set himself apart from the rest of the students. Max knew that he wanted to be a good wrestler. Every year I ask each student what their goals are for the year and Max’s freshman year goal was to become a good wrestler. Max enthusiastically worked to achieve his goal by dedicating himself year-round to wrestling. On the mat Max would perfect his moves during drills and push to his limit during live wrestling. Max could often be heard muttering catch phrases like, “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Off the mat, he would exercise at home and during off season, he went to wrestling clubs. In Max’s third year of wrestling he won fourth place at the Henry Wittenberg tournament. It was no surprise to his teammates when Max was chosen to be captain of the TABC wrestling team as a senior, which is where his leadership quality shined bright. When a teammate was having a hard time in practice, Max would be right beside them whispering words of encouragement. Before each match, Max could be heard in the locker room inspiring his teammates. In Max’s senior year he won the Aryeh “Captain Lou” Zinkin Yeshiva Wrestling Award, awarded to only one wrestler at the Wittenberg Tournament. As coaches, we teach our students that a wrestler works hard on and off the mat. A wrestler never gives up. A wrestler is respectful and a mentsch. Max has all these qualities and has been an inspiration to everyone around him. His teammates follow him out of respect and admiration and his coaches look to him for his leadership skills.”
Max, congratulations on the Zinkin award and the high praise of your coach. Who is your role model and why?
My role model was my Great Grandpa Eli, who taught me the true meaning of strength, resilience and success.
What is your favorite sport?
I enjoy different sports for different reasons. When it comes to competitive sports (and something that has vastly changed my life for the better), I would definitely say wrestling. In addition, I really enjoy ice skating and archery.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
I would say my greatest sports accomplishment is my 11-1 wrestling record this past season.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
I admire every individual involved in wrestling. Each student and each coach makes yeshiva wrestling a great experience. Over the years, my teammates and my coaches made my experience unforgettable for me. I felt the same way about hockey when I played in middle school and my dad was our coach.
What is your pregame routine, if you have one?
My pregame routine starts with a warm up. I jump around, try to stay loose and then practice my stance and shots. I focus on keeping calm and say a quick bracha. Though I have been known to occasionally punch a wall...
For the team, as co-captain, I try to give a pep talk to the guys as a group, and then individually.
What is your earliest sports memory?
My dad was coach of RPRY hockey before I was even old enough to play. He would take me to practices. There was an odd number of guys on the team, so I helped even things out. When I started sixth grade, I was ready because I knew his coaching style.
What is your weirdest sports memory?
I played roller hockey. I once had a break away and my parents were screaming at me. I thought it was because I was not going top speed. Actually, it was because two huge players were bearing down on me, trying to knock me down before I scored my goal.
What is your favorite sports memory?
My favorite sports memory occurred when I was a sophomore, two years ago, at the Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament. My opponent was very intimidating. I had to concentrate hard not to let him get to me. I won the match and learned one of the most important lessons in wrestling: Never underestimate or overestimate your opponent. This idea has stayed with me ever since, and I frequently tell it to my teammates.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?
My absolute favorite thing to do when I’m not playing sports is to hangout with my friends and family. As cliche as it sounds, they’re so much fun and always there for me.
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
I hope this profile brings attention to yeshiva high school wrestling. I never thought a sport could change my life for the better. But it did. I think guys who are not on a team should give it a try.
I’m also very pleased that by winning the Captain Aryeh “Lou” Zinkin Wrestling Award, I can publicize an amazing award and a really amazing individual whose family honors him this way.
The Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week will receive a $15 gift at the Teaneck Doghouse. Please send nominees for an upcoming Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week to [email protected]