By Danny Cohen
Sports & Layout Editor
After receiving the news that there would not be any soccer or basketball games this season, most students at Barrack stopped bringing the same energy, attentiveness, and spirit to practice. However, there is one player in particular that never ceased to spread positivity: senior Ilan Gordon.
Whether playing goalie on the soccer pitch, catcher on the baseball field, or point guard on the basketball court, Ilan Gordon consistently has the same mindset: “Always bring 110% effort, no matter what.” This mentality has led the way for Gordon to be a very successful Barrack Cougar, as he played a key part in the Cougars’ multiple championships over the last four years.
While many would think Gordon’s favorite moment as a Cougar was when he won the basketball championship in 2020, it actually came when he was in 8th grade when he took over as the starting catcher for the Varsity Baseball team. Not only was it special that he was playing Varsity as an 8th grader, he was lucky enough to catch for his older brother, Simon Gordon ‘17. “I never expected to ever play baseball with Simon after years and years of watching him as just a little young kid,” Gordon explained. “Being able to play a whole season with my brother, and even catch about five or six games with him, was just amazing.” Still, Gordon believes his best moment as a Cougar has not yet happened, proclaiming, “My best experience is yet to come when we win the baseball championship this year and take down Perk for the first time in 30+ years.”
What makes Gordon so unique is the effect he has on his teammates. Max Hirsch ‘22, a teammate of Gordon’s on the basketball team, praised Gordon's leadership, stating that, “Day in and day out, Ilan gives it his all and motivates all of us to do the same.” Gordon prides himself in having a strong connection with every player on the team, noting that “creat[ing] a brotherhood and get[ting] the opportunity to compete with them” is a key part of his connection with his teammates, and it is the reason he knows “exactly where they’ll be at what point in the game.”
Gordon also enjoys that he’s able to represent “the school that [he] loves” when he plays, explaining, “Whenever I am playing, I am holding the Barrack Cougar logo with me.” When asked if he has learned any valuable lessons as a Cougar, Gordon was quick to share that, “Sportsmanship is the most important thing while playing sports and it is key to always show it.” Gordon certainly embodies Barrack’s Derech Eretz values on and off the field. His good friend and teammate Zach Ufberg ‘21 remarked, “He’s always nice and keeps your head high no matter if you make a mistake. He also puts the team first and would sacrifice himself to benefit other players.” When asked about playing with Gordon, Ben Beal ‘21 said, “Ilan is a guy that exhumes energy. He brings it and everyone feeds off of it. He makes anything fun, from sitting in class to playing sports. He’s overall a great guy and better friend.”
Finally, Gordon asked The Cougar Chronicle to share his gratitude with the community: “I just want to give a huge thanks to all of my coaches throughout my Barrack career. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” He specifically wants to thank Coaches Silver, Omar, Falk, Devin, Jay, and last but definitely not least, Upper School Dean of Students and Athletic Director Justin Cooper, for taking “a risk on a little 8th grader behind the plate” and making him “a leader on the baseball team.” He is also hugely grateful to Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer Johnny Bistline. Gordon says, “In 10th grade, when I got hurt, you were always there for me and helped me rehab and got me back as soon as possible.” He knows he would not be the athlete he has become without the help of all these exceptional Barrack people.
As one of the few 12-sport athletes in his class, Gordon will be leaving a mark on Barrack athletics. Congratulations on an amazing career, Ilan!