Boys Volleyball: Gelfand brothers pose twin threat for Niles WestGlenview Wednesday 04.11.12. Niles West's Eli Gelfand (right) (18) hits the ball during their match against Glenbrook South on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Glenview. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 9, 2012 10:28AM
Zach and Eli Gelfand include themselves as the type of twins who do most things together.
The Gelfand brothers hang out with the same group of friends. The sophomores also both play varsity volleyball at Niles West.
A couple years ago, they looked ready to go their separate ways.
“We did play (volleyball) in middle school, but after grade school he played club for one year and I decided not to,” Zach Gelfand said. “He got really good and I got kind of jealous, so I wanted to also play with him. The next year I quit football, I didn’t do basketball and I just focused on volleyball.”
Ever since that club season, the Gelfands’ sole athletic focus has been volleyball. As a result, they’ve both followed the same paths.
They were each members of Niles West’s freshman team last season, played club volleyball for Velocity — which is run by Niles West — and were asked prior to Wolves’ volleyball tryouts to try out for the varsity squad.
Although Eli Gelfand’s first few varsity practices brought a fair amount of anxiety and nervousness, it was his freshman club season experience — he played with many of the juniors currently the Niles West’s varsity — that allowed him to settle in and play confidently.
“The very first (varsity practice), I was pretty nervous because I didn’t want to mess up or something, and have them say, ‘Oh, no, He’s not good enough for varsity,’ ” Eli Gelfand said. “The other (practices) were pretty good, especially because I was playing with some of my friends from freshman year.”
Eli Gelfand’s friends from club quickly became his brother’s friends, too. Although they already spend a great deal of time together, and a bad day on the court can lead to an argument at home, volleyball seems to pull the identical twins even closer together.
“I feel like we really started to bond more with the volleyball because we’re always on the same team and everything,” Zach Gelfand said. “Sometimes, if we have a bad game or if we have a bad practice … yeah, we’ll bicker at each other a little bit at home. But most of the time (the relationship) is pretty solid.”
There are moments on the court together for Niles West (7-8), when their shared genetics and tight relationship has the tendency to, at times, turn telekinetic.
“Sometimes, it’s telepathic. Sometimes if I just look at him, he’ll know what I’m saying,” Eli Gelfand said. “We work really well together, especially on the court.”