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There’s an old adage that goes something like this: If you want something done, be sure to ask a busy person.

Huh? How is that possible? What kind of ridiculous truism would that be? Glad you asked.
 I know, and it’s not because I once taught 13 years at a north end school named Isaac Newton located at the corner of Aberdeen and Parr. You see it was Sir Isaac Newton who introduced us to the first law of motion: that a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.
 Well, just last week, I phoned the Bernstein residence in Winnipeg’s south-end and spoke with Matthew, a 25-year-old whiz-kid who confirmed that, yes, he will soon be departing Winnipeg to participate in the upcoming Maccabiah games in Israel.
 Oh, he’s not just a dreamer, but he did assure me that “It’s my first time and it’s always been a dream of mine to go to these games.
 What motivated the young man to go for it was that his 22-year-old sister, Lexie , a more than decent athlete in her day at St. John’s Ravenscourt visited her family about three years ago with her boyfriend, Cole Grossinger, from Toronto.
The latter’s preferred game is volleyball. He had just returned from the last Maccabiah games and couldn’t stop sharing about what a great experience it was for him.
 It was at that moment that Matthew decided to follow through and began planning to realize his dream;  his specialty would be track and field. Now don’t be under the illusion that he wasn’t much of an athlete himself back in his high school days.
”Following my elementary and junior high days at Gray Academy, I played mostly football and basketball at St. Paul’s. I also did some track there. In my Grade 12 year, we won the provincial football championship. We also won the city championship in basketball, but lost to Oak Park in the provincials.”
 The latter, of course, is past history. Now my subject is focusing primarily on the Maccabiah Games and Israel. “I’ve been to Israel twice, he explained. “Ten years ago we did a family mission. I was there for my cousin’s bar mitzvah. Then I went on birthright five years ago.
 “I just love Israel. It is really an incredible place! The opportunity to compete in Israel in the Games and to meet athletes from all over the world in our homeland is pretty exciting. That is the real motivation for me now.
 “The only local athlete that I know who is also going to the games is Keenan Benarroch. Last year he went to the Jewish Pan American games and did very well in basketball.” (For the record, it was in Chile that Keenan and his mates upset the US entry when they came from behind and won the final in overtime by 95-85) ,
 As for Matthew’s preparation as a track man, he hadn’t done much competitive running since high school, so he sought the help of the University of Manitoba’s track team. “I had my friends at the U of M, which I attend now, help me out about a year ago and I’ve been in training ever since.
 He feels that at this stage of life his real strength definitely lies in running.
“I’ve always been fast. I love the short distance events. I’m very competitive and will be competing in the 100, 200, and the 4 by 4 100 relay. They really get the adrenalin going and are exciting.”
 Bernstein’s education is also a very serious matter. “I’m doing my undergrad and Masters at the University of Manitoba and I’m going into my second year now in Clinical Psychology. So, in my final year of my Ph.D we do a termship year here in Canada or the US. At the end of the day I want to be a therapist or a practising psychologist.”
It goes without saying that Matthew is also a gift to others and wants to enrich their lives too. “I’ve done quite a bit of travelling (already). I was in Ghana, Africa about six years ago. I’m part of a group called ‘Canadian Initiative for Ghana’. It’s based in Winnipeg.
 “I held a fund raiser with the proceeds going to build a school there. I’ve also been to Europe and Asia. This summer, as part of my degree, I will also visit a lot of places like hospitals.
”And they also brought me to Ottawa last weekend for their national championship.” (It was actually done so that he could observe athletes, help to assess their reactions to competitions and how they respond in terms of , say, their levels of anxiety and stress).
In early August, Matthew is going to move out of his parents’ home. “I’m excited. I’m moving out into a duplex on Grosvenor. I mean - I have a great relationship with my parents, but it’s time.
 “My dad, (Dr. Chutch Bernstein) is a gastroenterologist. He’ll be coming to watch me in Israel. He’s a pretty huge Zionist. He has family that live in Israel and other colleagues in medicine. “
 Mom, Evelyn, won’t be going. She runs a program through MPI called “Automobile Accident Insurance Mediation.” Basically, they’re mediators,” explains Matthew and what they offer is the highest level of appeal for someone involved in a dispute with MPI.
 “I’m also involved with high level athletes at the Canada Summer Games: the Manitoba triathlon team , and learning about sports psychology and about the minds of athletes who are competing locally. It has been an awesome experience. I’m the team’s sports psychologist. I started with them at the beginning of May and attend their events and practices.
 Then there is Zaida, Lou Bernstein , now 91, who was a big football star in his day. “He played for a year with the U of M Bisons. He’s in the St. John’s Tech Hall of Fame. He played some fullback and sometime as an end. I think he played in every sport in his day,” said Matthew, who concurred with me that his family has been blessed with more sport genes than most.
 The writer, a Jewish Winnipegger, is a former school teacher, and covers football and hockey for Canadian 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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