Larry Greenspon first qualified for the Maccabiah Games in 2001; that trip was the first of many to Israel and a life-changing experience.
“It was a game changer for me,” Greenspon said. “It got me connected to ITEC and being with Jews from all over the world, perhaps coming for their first time, to have the opportunity to visit Israel and learn about the tennis centers, how we’re changing the lives of all the children in Israel.”
Now, Greenspon will be competing in Maccabiah Games again, for the fifth time, now in the 70 to 75 Division. Aside from maintaining his tennis skills, Greenspon has served as the International Chair of Israel Tennis & Education Centers for years, as well as ITEC’s Global Business Board and Chair of Events in Sarasota and Longboat Key. During this year’s competition at the Maccabiah, ITEC will be center stage, hosting events at the Ramat Hasharon Center.
“We’re making sure that the world that is coming to Israel understands what ITEC does throughout Israel and the outreach we have,” Greenspon said.
What makes this trip to Israel even more impactful is where Greenspon will be playing. The Larry and Mary Greenspon ITEC Ramat Hasharon center bears his name at the entrance, and also boasts a court dedicated in memory of his beloved parents. There is also a dedication of the Restaurant and Pavilion at the center by the Larry Greenspon Foundation. This center means so much to the entire Greenspon family.
He’ll also get to share the experience of competing in the Maccabiah Games with his nephew, who will be playing hockey.
Greenspon says being in Israel playing tennis with fellow Jews brought him back to his roots. Greenspon remembers walking through Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and seeing a photograph on the wall with tennis courts and a sign forbidding Jews from playing. He cried when he saw that photo.
“I had relatives that were murdered in the Holocaust and here we are today,” Greenspon said. “We survived and we’re prospering and I want to make sure the world knows what we’re doing.”
At the games, get ready to see Greenspon’s infamous left-handed serve that earned him the nickname “Lefty Spins.” He’s been playing every day to get ready for the competition, crediting tennis with keeping him in shape and out of trouble.