A Maccabi legend calls it a day

February 18, 2011 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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This article was meant to come a few weeks earlier, when Beverley Bos OAM (pictured with Maccabi NSW Swimming President Anthony Goodridge) thought the Maigs swim meet would be her final involvement in Jewish swimming.

s5.jpgBut when the organisers of this Sunday’s 61st NSW Jewish Swimming Championships came calling for some help, Beverley was there to fill a role that has made her synonymous with Maccabi Swimming for generations.

And you get the feeling even if she’s ‘retired’; she’ll never be too far away from the scene, even if she swaps the referee’s role for that of spectator.

“I’m not great with figures, but everybody seems to have come to this lovely idea it has been 40 years with Maccabi Swimming,” Beverley joked.

“It is very hard to finish. Sometimes I think life membership is almost a life sentence. We have been involved with it for such a long time, I’ve seen it grow and especially as it’s not now thriving it’s hard not to stay a little bit involved.

“But maybe I can sit up in the stands and present medals!”

Beverley’s involvement started in the 1960’s as club secretary and she has seen as many peaks and troughs in Maccabi sport as anyone.

Alongside her late husband Joe, who was president, they looked after the swimming club after it split from the old water polo and diving clubs. It was the most popular swimming club in the district when it had use of the Woolahra pool in the 1970’s, but “from then on it’s always been a bit difficult” finding a permanent home for the club. After all “without a pool, you have no swimming club” – a problem the club is trying to resolve as you read this.

Not only has Beverley been a long-serving swimming official in the Eastern Suburbs district, but she has been secretary of the old Australian Maccabi Federation (now MAI) and the old Eastern Suburbs Swimming Association, she took a delegation on tour to Memphis in 1982 (one of her highlights), organised an annual Special Olympics carnival and was recognised for her work by being appointed the flag-bearer for Bosnia-Herzegovina at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

beverly 2010.jpgSwimming helped Beverley after Joe – who has a perpetual trophy named after him at the championships for junior 100 metre events – passed away.

“My friend said Bev, come on, you’re not going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself – so from then on I went along to state swimming and became a referee and did a lot more with state swimming and Maccabi.”

And while Beverley’s involvement might slowly ease off, there is no doubting her passion and belief in the cause, especially as Maccabi Swimming looks to secure its future.

“I believe there’s a place for Maccabi as a non-competitive club,” Beverley said. “If I look at Randwick and Coogee – they’re clubs that are still going and they do quite well. I think there is a place and I don’t think we have to be highly competitive.

“And to have an organisation that is for Jewish people, with meets like the Jewish Championships -those meets would be on Saturday, and clubs run on Friday nights, so we run it to so everyone can be involved.”

With her ‘farewell’ this weekend, Maccabi NSW CEO Mick Vasin paid tribute to Beverley.

“Although I am not sure this truly is her “last” event I want to acknowledge the great work Beverly Bos OAM has done for Maccabi and Australian Swimming over a lifetime of dedication to the sport.

“I remember as a young 9 year old swimming at North Sydney Pool at the Jewish Championships back in 1968 being marshalled by the Bos family, swimming against the Bos family – they were everything to Jewish Swimming then.

“Her energy still today is unbelievable and for some reason whilst I give this tribute I can’t help but feel somehow, somewhere Beverly Bos OAM, Maccabi NSW Hall of inductee, will resurface again amongst us.

“Thanks for a lifetime of involvement Bev.”

So what about one last comeback after this week?

“I was supposed to be retired! Even Swimming NSW gave me a huge bunch of flowers which I couldn’t believe.

“I had my 80th birthday in December …  it’s hard to say I’m retired, but really, truly, this has to be my last meet!”

Pic: 2010 Joe Bos memorial trophy winners Zac Freuden and Mikaela Rifkin

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