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By HARVEY ROSEN The question before us today, dear reader, is can any person have too much of a good thing and what variety of impact might such good fortune have upon the individual’s psyche?


Consider, for example, the now-retired racquetball legend, Sherman Greenfeld, who not only became the best that he could be, but excelled beyond that aforementioned standard and approached near perfection.
How else could one describe the now 52-year-old Winnipegger who won 10 Canadian championships between 1986 and 1998, 20 provincial titles, captured a pair of world titles in men’s singles in 1994 and 1998, was thrice winner in the Pan American Games (1990, 1994, 1998), was a two-time winner in 1994 and 1998 of the “Jewish Athlete of the Year” at our Rady sports dinner, was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, and was presented with the Ivan Velan Award in 2000 - which is Racquetball Canada’s highest honour. In 2003 Racquetball Canada created the Sherman Greenfeld Award which is presented annually at the Canadian Junior Racquetball Champion-ships to a boy who exemplifies excellence on and off the court.
My apologies to Sir Greenfeld if I omitted any of his other Oscars... I mean awards. So why am I taking this readership down such a long and winding road after so many years of racquetball retirement?
Well, this just in. Another accolade, or should I say, honour, is to be bestowed upon a very surprised and flattered Greenfeld who received a letter a few months ago, which trumpeted that he is to be inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame based at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel.
Inductees will include: Americans Monte Attell, the late (1960) San Francisco 1909 bantamweight titlist; former Women’s National Basketball Association president Donna Geils Orender;  Steve Sandler (handball); and Garrett Weber-Gale (swimming); Russians David Tyshler (fencing); and Ilva Averbukh (figure skating); and finally, Canada’s Sherman Greenfeld (racquetball).
A phone call to Sherman, whose expertise is in sales, promotion, and marketing, and who now works with Bell Media (TSN Jets, Bob FM, and Virgin Radio) helped to clarify for me what his reaction was to his latest recognition:
“It used to be somewhat commonplace, to me, but now that I’m retired from racquetball, awards are fewer and far between,” he laughed.
“It gets to the point that when you’re playing and are immersed in the sport and winning these championships you’re not ho hum about it, but I guess when I retired (and looked back) and my competitive days are over I appreciate them more.
“I think it’s different now and since I have a 13-year-old son (Zack) and he plays premier soccer I started to forget what I’ve done in the past and it’s more about him and his athletic endeavours. (As a matter of fact) he’ll be going in three weeks to Omaha, Nebraska.
“No, Zack is not into racquetball, he’s more diversified. He fell into soccer and other sports because he is more team-focused; whereas I was more of an individual sport athlete. His mom, Janet, was a good athlete and Zack (inherited) a lot from her.”
Dad didn’t exactly start out believing or even imagining that he was going to attain the glorious heights that he did. “You’re always having a dream that you love sport, you’re passionate about it and you carry on. You never believe you’re gong to get to that point where you win championships but, as you get better at it, you work even harder and you’re investing so much time when, all of a sudden, you realize you have more and more goals and they become more realistic. It’s like you deserve it because you’re putting more and more into the sport and you put family and everything else on hold,” he said with sincerity.
Sherman is not quite certain where, totally out of the blue, the all-important announcement arrived in his mailbox. “A fellow in Victoria, a sports journalist - I wish I could remember his name - whose job, basically, is research. He travels around the world looking for Jewish athletes. He doesn’t know me; nor me him. I guess in the world of today you can Google and all of a sudden he looks at your accomplishments. He (the researcher) contacted Sports Manitoba and they got in touch with me.
“As for the Wingate inductions, they will take place in the summer of 2017 to coincide with the 2017 Maccabiah Games. In the meantime I was to forward a raquet and other of my memorabilia and send it (in advance) to Netanya.
“It’ll be exciting. I am certainly honoured to be singled out like that. I see a lot of Europeans and Americans on the (list of inductees) but not many Canadians. I’ve been to Israel once before, in 1989, when I went down there as part of the squash team.”
And so it has come to pass in a most timely fashion that this mensch, Sherman Greenfeld, the most dominant racquetball player in the world in his time, will eventually be honoured in Israel by his own people
The writer, a Jewish Winnipeg-ger, is a former school teacher, and covers football and hockey for Canad-ian Press and Broadcast News.
Keep in touch with Sporting Touch. Send news about Jewish sports to Harvey Rosen, 360 Scotia Street, Winnipeg, Man., R2V 1W7, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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