Memphis memories are still fresh for two Detroit soccer players who competed in inaugural 1982 JCC Maccabi Games.
It’s been 37 years since Paul Randel competed for Detroit in the inaugural JCC Maccabi Games in Memphis, Tenn., but many memories are still crystal clear in his mind.
Like how he persistently pursued and succeeded in trading his Detroit soccer jersey for a warm-up jacket worn by an Israeli tennis table player.
Then there was the trip in a hot school bus with a police escort from the Memphis Jewish Community Center to a Memphis Chicks minor-league baseball game.
“The Maccabi Games were much less organized then than they are today,” Randel said. “The bus trip to the baseball game is the only planned non-sports event I recall doing in Memphis.”
Another vignette in Randel’s memory from 1982 involves an athlete from Louisville, Ky., that Randel met in Memphis.
“His cousin was a girl I knew from school (at West Bloomfield High School),” Randel said. “Sometime during the following school year after the Maccabi Games, I stepped out of a class and there was the guy from Louisville, in town visiting his cousin.”
Randel and Dave Stone both played for the Detroit soccer team in the 1982 Maccabi Games.
The team lost in a shootout to Toronto in its final game. Had Detroit won, it would have advanced to the medal round in the 7 vs. 7 competition.
Stone scored Detroit’s lone goal in the 1-1 tie that preceded the shootout.
“I remember scoring that goal,” he said. “I can still see the ball going into the net.
Someone gave me a nice crossing pass and I one-timed it.”
Stone also remembers soccer games being played early in the day because of the heat in Memphis and spotting armed security personnel on the roof of the Memphis JCC.
“I didn’t feel unsafe. I just thought, as a kid from West Bloomfield, that it was interesting there were armed people on the roof,” he said.
Stone was 12 that summer, heading into the seventh grade at West Hills Middle School in West Bloomfield Township.
He played soccer at Bloomfield Hills Andover High School and Eastern Michigan University before graduating in 1988 and 1992.
He also played soccer for Detroit in the 1984 and 1986 Maccabi Games in Detroit and Toronto. Unfortunately, his team didn’t win a medal in those years.
Now 49 and living in Chelsea, Stone is starting his fifth year as executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor after a lengthy administrative career at the JCC of Metro Detroit in West Bloomfield.
Randel was 16 in the summer of 1982 and headed into his senior year at West Bloomfield High School, where he played soccer and wrestled for the Lakers.
He went on to attend the University of Michigan, graduating in 1987. He was on the club soccer team at U-M as a junior.
The 1991 graduate of the Wayne State University Law School has been a bankruptcy attorney for 21 years.
Now 53 and living in Farmington Hills, Randel is still involved in the Maccabi Games.
He was the score reporting commissioner when Detroit hosted the Maccabi Games in 2014, and he’ll have the same volunteer role Aug. 4-9.
“I had a good time doing that job five years ago and I got good reviews, so they asked me back,” he said.
Randel and his wife, Deb Lapin, have three children, Sam, 20, Izzy, 18, and Jack, 18, who all have competed for Detroit in the Maccabi Games.
Stone and his wife Tara have three children: Sophie, 13, Noah, 11, and Braedon, 7.