The relationship between siblings can be a special thing, equal parts rivalry and family. Much the same can be said of teammates, so it’s no mystery that there are dozens of student-athletes in Williamsburg-James City County who are both siblings and teammates.
Brothers Sebastian and Seaton Lodwick have been playing soccer since they were old enough to play in youth leagues, but the only time they got to play together was at home, either in their neighborhood streets or sneaking onto the Jamestown soccer field after school as kids.
This year, they take to the soccer field behind Jamestown for the first time as teammates, with senior Sebastian playing right back for the Eagles and sophomore Seaton playing striker.
“It’s been pretty fun, we’ve been playing together for fun since we were kids, even if this is the first time we’ve been on a team together,” said Seaton. “It’s definitely made us both better, and it makes teamwork between us that much easier.”
For the brothers, it’s also a little bittersweet; Sebastian heads to Old Dominion University in the fall to study physical therapy, so this will be the only time they play on the same team together.
“There’s always been some competition between us, and soccer has always been something that we’ve shared,” said Sebastia ”I’m proud that we got to play together before I left for college, and I’m prouder of watching the type of player my brother has become.”
Sometimes, being teammates is a matter of family tradition.
At Warhill, there are more than two dozen siblings involved in the athletic program, but few know the pressures of that tradition more than sisters Taylor and Mackenzie Nicholson.Their parents, Angela and Richard Nicholson, are softball coaches at Hampton University, and Taylor has already committed to play shortstop for the University of Missouri as a junior. She also was a freshman when Warhill won the second of back-to-back state softball titles, an experience she hopes to replicate for her little sister Mackenzie’s freshman year.
“My family is very proud, and I’m thrilled to be playing with my sister this year,” said Taylor. “I’m even happier that the way the team is looking, she may win a championship freshman year as I did, I think we’re ready for anything this year.”
For Mackenzie, all that talent in the family tree is a little intimidating, but also an incredible opportunity.
“There’s definitely a little pressure to perform, but it all makes me a better player,” said Mackenzie. “You always want to be able to play and learn from the best as an athlete, all that pressure just makes me that much better at the sport.”
For other siblings, like Lafayette senior E.J. Green and sophomore Michael Green, taking the field together was just the next step in their long, friendly sibling rivalry.
“We’ve always been close, but competitive, whether it’s eating, working out or video games,” said Michael. “We’d both been playing football since pee-wee league, but the team at Lafayette is the first time we’ve ever played together, and it’s been an awesome experience.”
Both played outside linebacker and admit that they pushed each other to work harder. They also tried new sports together — they joined the wrestling team last year.
They’ll be the first to admit sometimes, one brother comes out on top — Michael will play football for Louisburg College in the fall, while E.J. came in second in the state for his weight class in wrestling — but they both agree they’ve made each other better athletes and better brothers.
“It’s always competition, but we help push each other, and I learned quite a lot from Michael,” said E.J. “As athletes or as siblings, you do better the stronger the bonds you have, you push each other, you learn from each other, and on the field or off, we’ll always have each other’s backs.”
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.