Adam Troxtell, Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Soccer seems to run through the Black family bloodlines.
Regardless of where the daily routines of Amanda and Haley take them through Chickasha High School, they'll always start and end at the same place: home and then the pitch. Last year that also included older sister and Lady Chicks starting goalkeeper Casey, who graduated last spring.
Now it's down to senior central midfielder Amanda and sophomore defensive back Haley to uphold the family name in Chickasha soccer.
"I don't think I play differently, but I know what she can do because I've watched her, practiced with her," Haley said about playing with her sisters. "I think it always made us tougher, too, because you always want to go harder on her in practice. It really makes you better."
It turns out last season was something of a blue moon situation for Chickasha soccer spectators. It was the only time all three Black sisters played on the same team together since they lined up on an under-14 squad with Chickasha Youth Soccer Association.
"Our parents started us in soccer when we were about four, for each of us, and we really loved it," Amanda said.
The seeds of the sisters' affection for the beautiful game were sown long before any of them existed when their parents, Kirk and Joyce, resided in England in the early 1990s. There, their father experienced the sport first-hand and hasn't been able to shake a love for it since.
"He always talks about how he played a few pick-up games with friends, his 'mates,' and he just fell in love with it," Haley said.
Now he's passed that along to his daughters, and by proxy, Chickasha soccer. With all three Black girls playing last year, the team finished 11-3-1 with a second round state playoff loss to Deer Creek. Unfortunately for Casey, her Lady Chicks career came to a premature end when she was unable to play in that game after suffering an injury in the previous match.
"It was definitely a lot different without her back there, with her presence in the goal and voice on the field," Amanda said. "But it was just about her wellbeing; we didn't want her to get hurt again."
Such unique emotions come into play when dealing with both teammate and family ties. Chickasha head coach Bethany Goble knows all too well how to cope with how this plays into the team atmosphere.
"I coached my younger sister when she was in high school, so I know the sibling rivalry," Goble said. "I have four sisters, I know how it works. I know if something happened at the house, she's mad at so-and-so, it's going to come out on the soccer field."
Rivalries and competitiveness are always going to exist, Amanda said, but it doesn't change the fact that all three are always behind each other.
"It's definitely made us closer, because it's another common ground," she said. "There's obviously sibling rivalry, in every family. But we're pretty close knit and always there for each other, supporting each other."
For Haley, it's another way to look up to her older siblings and grow in both the game and life.
"She's my sister, so I'll always look up to her," she said. "But being a leader on the team, it's something else you look at. It's competitive too, because there's that sister competition."
Their roles on the team compliment each other. Amanda is the more seasoned central midfielder, providing strength and security in a vital part of the pitch. Haley provides width out of defense, often times an outlet when things get too clogged in the middle.
It appears to have only added to a thriving team chemistry. Chickasha has enjoyed their first in Class 4A, with an 8-1 overall record and a 5-0 record in district.
"Being a family is part of this program, but obviously they really are," Goble said. "So it's been interesting, fun; we're able to relate back to Casey, she's given them advice and it comes down the line."