Double Take

July 31, 2001

It is the reason that John Stockton can throw the perfect "no look pass" to Karl Malone. It is the reason that Joe Montana could hit Jerry Rice on a perfectly timed slant route. In fact, it is the same reason that the Cleveland Indian keystone-combination of Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel can turn a double play within the blink of an eye.

All of these aforementioned athletes are so familiar with their teammates that it is almost as though they have a "sixth sense" about them that grants them an advantage over their competition.

These athletes all know where their teamates are going to be on the playing field, regardless of whether or not they can even see each other. You see, in athletics it is a common misconception that the single greatest factor in achieving victory lies in the pure athletic ability of the competitor. In actuality, there are many other factors that go into winning, but perhaps none of them are as important as the intrinsic ability that some athletes have in truly knowing their teammates, and using this knowledge to gain an edge over their competition.

Now, have you ever known someone so well that you feel as though you can almost read their mind? Have you ever been so familiar with someone that you can sense that something has happened to them even if they are not present? Often times people that have such feeling for one another are siblings, because they have spent so much of their lives together that their train of thought almost reaches a level of perfect harmony.

Taking it to the next level, imagine then how twins must feel? Not only have they spent every waking moment of their childhood together, but having spent nine months together in the same womb has to lead one to believe they must share a special connection that exists in no other kind of relationship human beings share. Since working as one cohesive unit and understanding your teammates are such a vital part of winning, wouldn't it also follow that twins would make terrific teammates? Well, here at Siena College the consensus is that it would, as there are two sets of twins making terrific prowess in representing the Saints on the playing field and on the cross country courses. Angela and Erin Mead are both freshmen forwards on the field hockey team, and both play very important roles on one of Siena's youngest teams. "We have only been playing field hockey since 7th grade," Erin states, "but we have always played pickup soccer, basketball and catch with each other ever since we were little girls." Angela adds "We also played varsity basketball and softball at high school, and by nature both of us are very competitive. Even though a lot of times we are competitive with one another, we definitely prefer to be on the same team."

Field hockey is a very physically demanding sport that also requires an excellent sense of mental alertness. If you do not know where you are on the field at all times, as well as where your teammates are, then you are at an extreme disadvantage.

On playing a sport with her twin sister, Angela, the more outgoing of the two, says "It just makes it easier because I know her style of play so well. For example, a lot of times I don't even have to look to make a pass because a part of me just knows that Erin will be there."

Kim and Michelle Milton are not your typical teammates in the sense that while they do participate on the same team, they also compete against each other at the same time. You see, Kim and Michelle are another set of twins representing Siena on the women's cross-country team.

"We've been competing against each other since birth it seems--but in all seriousness we have been running against one another since the first grade," Michelle says.

"We mainly grew up running track, but we also competed in swimming and gymnastics as younger children," Kim adds. Cross-country is a unique sport in the sense that while essentially it is a team sport, success is not deemed by the victory of the team but rather by the personal achievement of the individual. As a result, runners often find themselves being pushed by their teammates, which only serves to help them become better runners.

"It is an added advantage running against your twin because it pushes you to do better, and since we are at the same level, most of the time it feels like more of a competition with her than with other teams."

These twins may look exactly alike, but they are different as people. When asked how they differ as individuals, Kim said: "We both have an extraordinary amount of determination, which is essential in our sport. We both push each other to the limit, and because we have different ways of doing this, it drives us both to be better runners." The advantages of this friendly competition have been immediately apparent at Siena. The bonds the Meads and Miltons carried with them to school have rubbed off on all their teammates and brought their respective sports closer together.