Carefully selecting a screwdriver, Eitan Sneider ’17 tosses it in his hand and prepares to launch it forward to hit the wooden board that spans his garage wall. After perfectly landing a couple of smaller, sharp hardware tools, he picks up a large machete from the assortment of knives, then targets and swings his arm back as he uses his whole body to stick the machete.
For the past four years, Sneider has been practicing knife throwing in the garage of his home. When his father was receiving instruction for knife throwing as a hobby, Sneider would watch carefully from the sides. When he became interested, he took the initiative to learn by himself.
“My dad got me into knife throwing, but I am completely self-taught,” Sneider said. “He showed me his method, and I created my own. I don’t have a coach, but I learn from mistakes and go adjusting.”
On a daily basis, Sneider practices knife throwing for one to two hours. He believes that it helps with stress relief, and while he spends most of his alone time throwing knives, occasionally he throws with his cousin, Daniel Sneider ’16, and his friend, Alex Valdez ’17, whom he taught knife throwing.
“He loves to throw knives,” Valdez said. “Every time I go to his house, he’ll always want to go to the knife room. He would just pick up a new sharp object and throw it on the wall, and it would stick magically.”
Although knife throwing has been his main extracurricular hobby and passion since he was 12 years old, he started archery seven months ago. Like with knife throwing, Sneider became interested in archery through his father. For his 16th birthday, Sneider received a bow customized to his dimensions as a gift.
“I was somewhat interested in archery, and I had it as an idea, but I had never actually told my parents, so how they knew that I wanted that, I don’t know, but they went and got that, and I appreciate it a lot,” Sneider said.
Nevertheless, Sneider feels as if he has a deeper connection with knife throwing than archery.
“When you stick an arrow in a bull’s eye, it feels good, but for some reason, knife throwing, when you stick it, you almost feel the satisfaction throughout your entire body,” Sneider said. “When you miss, you feel almost as if it’s connected to you, which is strange because you aren’t actually connected to the target but it feels as if you were.”
In addition to knife throwing and archery, Sneider recently joined the JV soccer team. Even though he started soccer when he was four years old playing for AYSO, he stopped in seventh grade.
“I stopped because the level was too low, and I guess a lot of it was laziness and not wanting it enough,” Sneider said. “Up until this year, I never really wanted it that much,” Sneider said.
However, one of his favorite video games, Fifa 15, a simulated soccer game where players can build their own teams and compete, started to bring out Sneider’s interest in soccer again.
This year, when Sneider tried out for the JV soccer team, he originally did not make the team. Nevertheless, believing he deserved another chance, Sneider constantly talked to the coaches to train with the team.
“Once we started the soccer team, the coaches didn’t really see much in him, but he kept on trying, and finally the coaches agreed. He started in the Loyola JV game,” Valdez said.
Sneider believes his life is interesting because his pastimes are out of the ordinary, especially knife throwing. While he hopes to never have to use his knife throwing skills, he believes that if he does, it is a more traditional way of self-defense. Seeing no use in showcasing his skill, he does not believe in going to competitions.
“I’ve mastered feeling the knife, which is the most important part, and for me the satisfaction is not to beat someone else’s record but beating my own,” Sneider said.