by Tomi Thompson
Photography by Thru Him Photography
Most teams step on to the court or field and expect to face opponents with skills and plays learned in practice, just involving the players, teammates, and the ball.
For teams facing Frazee’s twin sisters Maddie and Hailee Oswald, they also have to deal with a ‘sixth sense.’
“I just have instincts of where she’ll be. It’s weird, but I actually have like instincts,” Maddie says, “I guess we think alike, almost like telepathy.”
The senior three-sport athlete sisters have been playing basketball, volleyball, and softball together since they were in elementary school.
Besides those years of experience playing together, mom Michelle Oswald says that a unique chemistry exists between the sisters when game time arrives.
“As a mother, I can see a connection between them on the court or on the field. They each seem to know where the other is. It’s kind of like a sixth sense.”
In conversation, it’s easy to tell the girls have very different personalities, and Michelle agrees they each carry their personalities onto the court.
“Maddie is the more aggressive one and she also plays more of that role as a setter in volleyball and a point guard in basketball, where Hailee is fine just to be competitive. She doesn’t want to be in that limelight and she doesn’t want all that pressure on her. She’s more the kind that would be like pass me the ball and I’ll just shoot,” Michelle noted.
She says the difference between the girls is one of their strengths, because each girl has the opportunity to exhibit different leadership styles. “I think they’re both good leaders, but they each lead in a different way. Maddie is more likely telling everybody ‘You need to do this.’ Hailee tends to lead through example.”
The sisters close friendship also makes them special Michelle adds, “They’ve always been close. I think some of that is innate. They have the same friends, they go the same places. They’re both very different from each other, but at the same time they’re very good friends.”
Maddie and Hailee say that playing sports with each other has presented both opportunities and challenges. “It’s fun, but then we have sister fights,” Maddie says, “But we have really good trust between each other.”
“We have discussions at home a lot. After every game we come home and talk about the whole game and everything that happened. It’s nice to have someone to talk to that experienced it with you.” Maddie adds.
The siblings agree that they are the first to point out where the other can improve. “If I need to do something better, she’ll tell me what I need to do better, and I’ll tell her too.” Hailee says.
Asking the girls what they think about the other, it’s easy to see that they are both each other’s biggest critic, and biggest supporter.
“She’s really positive about everything,” Hailee says about Maddie, “But she’s really slow at getting ready, so I’m always waiting for her.”
“She’s the libero, and I’m confident in her taking everything that she can get, but she’s just quiet,” Maddie says about Hailee.
Hailee adds that Maddie has a strong work ethic, “She gives 100% all of the time.”
Maddie says that Hailee’s demeanor keeps her grounded on the court. “She’s kind. She keeps me calm when I get frustrated. She gives me a look, and I know everything is okay,” Maddie says. “She is happy and smiley all the time and that makes everyone else happy and smiley too.”
One of the twin’s favorite moments on the courts together was Maddie’s 1,000th career assist.
“When she got her 1000th assist I passed it to her, and then our best friend killed it,” Hailee said.
Maddie earned her 1000th assist during the 2014 season, and during the 2015 season hit the 2000 assist milestone.
For the upcoming basketball season, Hailee is on track to hit 1000 career points.
The joke since Hailee passed Maddie her 1000th assist is that Maddie owes Hailee an assist to hit the basketball milestone.
Always being together and having that added level of closeness is a benefit the sisters say. Their belief is that their differences contribute to and enhance each of their individual strengths.
“I trust that Hailee will pass the ball to me so I can set it every time it comes to her, and I trust that she’ll get every hit that comes her way,” Maddie says. “I think it’s easier to play with people that you’re comfortable around.”
When mistakes are made, the girls are so in tune with each other, all it takes is a look to fix things. “We just look at each other on the court. If she messes up, I just give her the look, and she does the same to me,” Hailee says.
“Neither one of us like to admit that it was our fault,” Maddie quickly adds.
Hailee laughs as she explains, “I feel like a lot of stuff happens where it’s between us two, so we fight and get over it, but we always end up laughing.”
Besides the sixth sense that the twin sisters rely on, another Oswald sibling is also making her way up through the ranks. Little sister, Paige, is an 8th grader and is the final sibling in the Oswald family.
Michelle says, “I’ve been their first coach in everything but volleyball; through all the elementary years, so Paige has been in the gym from the time she was a little girl.”
Paige saw her first minutes of varsity volleyball action this season. The twins enjoyed having another Oswald sibling alongside them on the court.
“It’s really cool. It’s like the Oswald trio,” Hailee says.
Maddie adds that even though she’s the youngest, Paige is proving to be a very talented athlete. “She’s so good at everything though. We’re jealous of her.”
Looking to the future, the girls are excited to head to college. They both plan to attend a four year university, but have nothing set in stone.
“I don’t know if we’ll live together, but obviously we’ll still keep in touch,” Maddie jokes.
Reflecting on the end of their high school sports career, the girls are sentimental about what high school sports means to them.
“I love sports so much and I love all the people that I play with. I’m cherishing every single second. Even if it’s just practice and you don’t want to be there, you should get rid of that mindset,” Maddie says. “Always think you have to do what you love with the people that you love because pretty soon we’re going to be going our separate ways. Give it your all, because you’re only going to get to play high school sports once.”
Michelle compliments the girls on their accomplishments so far in their high school careers, and is excited for their futures, but points out there is one area the girls could work on.
“They’re both very responsible and they have a good work ethic where they always put forth their best efforts, except when it comes to laundry and the dishes.”
They seem to be in sync with each other off the court too.