According to a result of Kočinac and Scheepers, the Hurewicz covering property is equivalent to a somewhat simpler selection property: For each sequence of large open covers of the space one can choose finitely many elements from each cover to obtain a groupable cover of the space. We simplify the characterization further by omitting the need to consider sequences of covers: A set of reals X has the Hurewicz property if, and only if, each large open cover of X contains a groupable subcover. This solves in the affirmative a problem of Scheepers. The proof uses a rigorously justified abuse of notation and a "structure" counterpart of a combinatorial characterization, in terms of slaloms, of the minimal cardinality 𝔟 of an unbounded family of functions in the Baire space. In particular, we obtain a new characterization of 𝔟.