"Listen, this is real fun — there’s nothing like a little healthy competition,” Mo Glatter said, laying a meaty hand on Chaim’s shoulder. “I’m glad you guys put together a legit team, even if you cheated by using old-timers,” he said laughing loudly, showing all his teeth. “But our boys will win anyhow. Anyhow, listen, that,” he said, pointing to the corner of the gym, “is unacceptable. It’s unsportsmanlike and we won’t have that here at Rekod. It’s not how we roll.”

Chaim turned to see a group of Neos Deshe kids shining small lasers at Rekod players. The tiny red beams were barely visible in the brightly lit gym, and the players didn’t appear to notice, but Chaim shook his head, just the same. “Oy, that’s upsetting, I’ll go deal with it. Sorry.”

“I think we can win without the extra help,” he tossed over his shoulder as he walked to the group of boys.

Chananya Singer was standing on the sidelines, sweating and breathing heavily. “Reb Chaim! It’s 37-34, theirs. We’ve never been this close in any game, ever. This is incredible. Imagine we win? Lerner is incredible. Ben-Shimon is hurt, I think, but he’s giving it his all. This is crazy.”

Chaim patted him on the shoulder and continued on his way to the group of Neos Deshe boys. “Guys, stop with the lasers. We can win this fair and square. Use your energy to cheer — don’t bother with this stuff.”

The “Rekod Rocks” cheers were deafening, led by a counselor playing an actual keyboard with massive speakers, but the Neos Deshe boys were holding their own. There was no formal camp cheer, so Chananya Singer had improvised a cry: C.N.D CRUSH! CRUSH! CRUSH!

Chaim suddenly felt uncomfortable as he watched the counselors and campers with their eyes fixed on the court, clapping with abandon and pounding their feet. He remembered once standing outside his house in Flatbush and seeing a young boy from the neighborhood fall off his bicycle. Chaim had called Hatzolah, and moments later, they were hard at work on the boy, who ended up having a broken leg. Chaim had stood there awkwardly, unsure where to put himself, until finally, Tishler, who lived across the street, had mercy and said, “Chaim, can you get some cold water for the boys, please?”

Now he felt the same way. His father-in-law had parked himself on a folding chair near half court and hadn’t stopped shouting “shoot, shoot, shoot,” and every Neos Deshe counselor was already hoarse. Singer appeared to be having a seizure, he was so involved. Only he, Chaim, couldn’t find his place at the party.