The Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse would like to recognize 19-year-old Elie Kahan as this week’s Sportstar of the Year. It would be impossible to tell if our 19-year old brother Elie Kahan just hit a buzzer beater or dropped a touchdown pass because he would have a smile on his face in either case. Although Elie cannot speak and express his feelings verbally, those who look at him can easily recognize his kindness and have their hearts warmed. Elie has many hobbies that he pursues during his free time. Elie is a food enthusiast and enjoys tasting almost all foods (sometimes from other people’s plates). Elie loves looking at pictures in photo albums—sometimes for hours at a time.
Elie also enjoys playing sports with his siblings and in special needs leagues. Elie has played on Bergenfield’s Challenger baseball team for over twelve years (they are undefeated, since every game ends in a tie) and has learned, after years of trying, to make contact with the ball. He also played Topsoccer with Teaneck for several years. Elie has also played basketball on his school team. He often disarms his opponents by hugging them during the game. Elie has also learned to make baskets on a regulation-sized basket (even though he often doesn’t look at the basket when he shoots), to ride a two-wheeler and to swim in deep water. In order to stay in shape for every season, Elie maintains a strict workout routine and walks briskly on the treadmill almost every day. While watching Elie drain shots and catch balls is enjoyable to everyone, those who watch Elie the most get pleasure just by watching him play with a bright smile on his face.
Editor’s Note: (The Jewish Link let Elie’s siblings help him answer the Sportstar questions.)
Elie, where do you go to school?
I go to the Phoenix Center in Nutley.
Who are your role models and why?
My siblings, of course! Although I am the oldest, I watch them socialize, try new things and practice hard at sports.
What are your favorite sports?
Biking and swimming, but my favorite team sport is basketball.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
Probably when after a few years on the Bergenfield Challenger League, I was able to hit the ball without a T and without being scared that I would get hit by the ball.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
I like Eli Manning because we are huge Giants fans and his name sounds like mine. Eli is also a good person off the field. He has won the Walter Payton award for helping kids with cancer.
What is your pregame routine, if you have one?
I eat plenty of food and bring extra snacks in case I need some motivation during the game.
What is your earliest sport memory?
My earliest sport memory is of my dad throwing footballs at me across the living room. I used to be scared but then I got used to flying footballs and started catching them!
What is your weirdest sports memory?
My weirdest sports memory is when one winter my family bought a basketball hoop during the winter and they were so excited to put it up, they decided to do it in the house. We had a full-size portable basketball hoop in our living room and we would play all the time. In the summer, we moved it outside.
What is your favorite sports memory?
My favorite sports memory is when I learned to ride a two-wheeler at the Lowell School parking lot with my HASC counselor, Natan. Everyone was so excited and I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it!
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?
My favorite thing to do when I am not playing sports is to hang out with my family and specifically, eat meals with them. Although I am a passive participant, I can follow the conversation and know what is going on. I also like to look at family photo albums and play on my iPad.
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
The best thing about being a sportstar is having the opportunity to share that even people with challenges like mine, are able to learn sports skills and participate in team and recreational sports.
The Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Year will receive a $15 gift at the Teaneck Doghouse. Please send nominees for an upcoming Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].
By Ariel, Aliza and Liana Kahan