As loyal, supportive parents of a top IFL Israel's Tackle Football League top player, we went trooping of to cheer him play at the first-annual All-Star Game. It was North versus South, (Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Beersheva,) but the big question was whether opponents could "bury the hatchet" and play well together as a team.
For many players, the risks of being injured are "worth it" for the team during the regular season, but they have no loyalty to the mix of "enemies" that constitutes the "all-star team." So the honor of being included could be a very heavy burden.
The players had to refocus, re-identify each other. And don't forget that the players do this for fun; they don't get paid. They all have full-time jobs, studies and more to keep them busy, so extra post-season practice isn't easy to schedule.
The biggest problem for those of us up in the bleachers was that we couldn't figure out how to cheer for our teams. It just didn't feel natural calling out "North" or "South." Some people yelled the names of the actual player teams, but the teams weren't playing. There were also generic calls of "offense" and "defense." G-d willing, next year the IFL will find two sponsors to cover expenses, buy better quality shirts (one player lost his shirt as it was ripped open very early in the game) and then we'll gladly cheer the sponsor of our favorite all-star team.