Prep sports: Differing sports offer Murphy twins differing identities
Graysee Murphy turned away slightly, tilting her head with a shy grin. It was the obvious question. Which of the Murphy twins, Graysee and Maddy, both star athletes at West, is better at sports?
"I don't think that's a fair question," Graysee said through her smile, "but I think we're both good at our respective sports. Even when we try new things, we're equally athletic."
Maddy arrived minutes later. Asked the same question, her answer was nearly identical to her sister's and was delivered with strikingly similar mannerisms, down to the bashful smile. It removed any doubt the Murphy sisters are fraternal twins.
"That's a bad question," Maddy said. "It depends. If we played the same sport, I think we might be equal."
As much as their similarities define the Murphy twins, it's their differences that give them their identities. That's why several years ago, after always playing on the same basketball and soccer teams, they decided to play separate sports. Maddy took basketball. Graysee stuck with soccer.
"Sometimes it's hard when people group us together and don't take the time to get to know both of us," Graysee said. "That's kind of frustrating, and when people mix up our names. I like to be my own person."
Now in their senior years, Maddy plays point guard for the Panthers' girls basketball team and led the team in scoring last season. Graysee is a soccer star and was an all-state midfielder during her junior season.
The twins agreed that playing different sports has given them a distinguishing characteristic, which is what they wanted when they first split sports. But that doesn't mean they haven't been there, rooting for one another along the way.
"I've been to, like, every game that she's played, at least in high school," Maddy said. "I love cheering for her and saying, 'That's my sister.' "
Graysee described having a twin as having a "built-in best friend." That bond has been strengthened as the twins have grown older and dealt with the challenges of juggling athletics and high school.
"I don't have to explain myself to her. She just knows," Graysee said. "It's easy to have someone to talk to who knows what I'm going through sports-wise."
The twins played on the same team this fall for the first time since elementary school. The West girls soccer team needed a goalkeeper halfway through the season, and Maddy decided to join the team.
"It was awesome," Maddy said. "This is our last year before we go to college, so we got a little bonding before we went our separate ways."
Graysee had reservations that the twins' competitive attitude toward each other might upset team chemistry. But before long, she discovered their "twin telepathy" was valuable on the soccer field.
"I liked having her on the field," Graysee said. "She made me feel safe because I knew, more than any other goalie I've ever had, what she was going to do. It was comforting."
The Murphy twins' lives will change at the end of the school year. They both are considering playing sports at different out-of-state colleges, and in many ways, that would represent a new chapter in their lives.
"Right now, I'm really stoked to get away and do my own thing," Maddy said. "People here always know us as the twins, and if I go away, I'll just be Maddy. I won't be anyone else. I think I'll like it, but I'll miss having her."