Jewish World Review August 23, 2002 / 15 Elul, 5762

Little League star
observes Sabbath

By David E. Nathan | In the little town of Williamsport, Pa., it seems everyone knows Micah Golshirazian.

The 12-year-old Orthodox Jew has become quite a celebrity at the Little League World Series as he and his teammates on Worcester, MA.'s Jesse Burkett All-Stars attempt to become world champions.

With the fleet-footed Golshirazian serving as a pinch-runner and sometime-centerfielder, the New England champions won two of their first three games to capture Pool A and advance to the U.S. semifinals. The U.S. final is scheduled for today, with the winner advancing to play the international champion on Sunday.

Because he is Orthodox and cannot play on the Sabbath, Golshirazian could not enter last Saturday's 8 p.m. game against Webb City, Mo. until the sun had gone down at 8:43 p.m. ESPN, which has broadcast many of the games, displayed a clock that was counting down the minutes until Golshirazian could play.

When the team went on a road trip to nearby Hershey Park, some people recognized Micah from the television broadcast.

"It's been awesome being here," said Golshirazian, whose family belongs to Congregation Tifereth Israel in Worcester. "It's been interesting meeting kids from other countries and hearing them speak different languages."

The whole Golshirazian family -- father Abe, mother Cori, and his three Brothers -- accompanied Micah to Williamsport. Golshirazian stays in a dormitory room with his teammates.

Golshirazian played shortstop during the regular season, but has been a specialist with the Burkett All-Stars. Under Little League rules, he can serve as a pinch-runner once each inning until the fifth, then if he pinch runs he must bat once or play three outs on defense.

"He's a good outfielder, and he can run like the wind," Burkett manager Fran Granger said. "When he gets in there, he steals a base or gets us an extra base."

Golshirazian's father lauded the Worcester coaches for making such an effort to allow his son to participate. "You have to give the coaches a lot of credit. They have been very accommodating and respected us," the elder Golshirazian said, noting the team bought a separate microwave oven to prepare his son's kosher food during an earlier tournament.

Golshirazian, who will enter seventh grade at Yeshiva Academy in Worcester this year, has always loved playing sports. It's a family tradition.

"All my kids are into sports," the elder Golshirazian said. "They play sports in the house, outside the house, even in the car on long road trips."

Abe Golshirazian, who owns a company that manufactures plastic bags, grew up in Iran and came to the United States to study at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His wife was raised in Natick, MA.

David E. Nathan is a staff writer with the The Jewish Advocate. Comment on this article by clicking here.


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