Arts & Culture

Shtickball: From Herzl To Brian Wilson

Follicle trends have been important components of both sports and Judaism for centuries. Read More

By / July 15, 2011
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This week Bruin legend Bobby Orr was interviewed and said Tim Thomas’s performance in this years playoffs was one of the best he’s ever seen. While some might attribute his goaltending feats simply to his dexterous movements and creativity between the pipes, I’m gonna go with the fact that he had a fantastic beard. As you can see here, the Bruins sported a wide variety of facial hairstyles that jelled at just the right time to propel them to the Stanley Cup.

Follicle trends have been important components of both sports and Judaism for centuries.  (We explored the dual NHL/Jewish Spring facial hair explosion a few months back.) Former methhead and raging prima donna Andre Agassi built his entire early career around his coiffeur, and Rollie Fingers showed a generation just how badass a proper mustache could be. From Sampson’s power-infused locks to Herzl’s no nonsense bushfest to Larry David’s bald crusades, Jews have a rich and storied history of that which grows on the head and the face. Still I can’t help but wonder the possible intersections of the two spheres. While hockey playoff beards are always great, how exponentially awesome would they look coupled with some ill Chassidic curls flapping in sync on a seamless power play? The picture of the Lubavitche Rebbe smiling and waving is a ubiquitous Jewish symbol- but who says his shaggy white santa claus wasn’t a reflection of his pining for the return of the Brooklyn Dodgers? Multiple sources have sworn they once heard him remark, after a particularly hearty farbrengen, ‘Next year in Ebbets Field’…

The gritty Knick teams of the late 90’s shaved their heads for playoff runs, and became infamously known for their less than Jew-friendly religious fervor. (I love the thought of Eric Konigsberg sitting in on a prayer circle as Allan Houston, Charlie Ward and LJ crudely dissect all the delicious Jewish stereotypes; meanwhile their Semitic agents are ensuring they all get obscenely overpaid. I miss that kind of rich irony in my life). While it may seem that the Knicks displayed anti-Nazaritic behaviour with their clean domes and gluttonous imbibing of fine Pinot (I’m assuming), I’m damn sure they had a few Delilahs who were ferocious in the bedroom only to deceive them in the end (in Sampson’s case he got tortured by the Philistines, Knick paramours probably got child support or at best a house in Malibu). So if you’re listening Ike Davis and Jordan Farmar and Gabe Carimi, embrace your dual hair heritage and grow your locks and your beards and mustaches like there’s no tomorrow. To do otherwise would be an affront to this Guy as well as these guys.

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