People in Union Bridge have been seeing double lately. Actually, they have had a double-dose of double vision.
That's because the Francis Scott Key girls basketball team has two sets of twins. Dominique and Tommeaka Brown, both 5-foot-11 seniors, are fraternal twins, while 5-2 seniors Candice and Melody Voland are identical. Having two pairs of twins on the same team can cause some confusion, but it also has its advantages, Eagles coach Ed Williar said.
"There is definitely a chemistry between twins," he said. "When they're on the court at the same time, it's evident that they're looking for each other. They know what each other is going to do. They really complement each other as far as passing to each other and encouraging each other."
The Brown twins both start for the Eagles. Tommeaka leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 a game, and she averages seven points a game and has 13 blocks and seven steals. Dominique, coming off knee surgery that sidelined her last season, is averaging four points and four rebounds and has seven steals.
The scrappy Volands, who were second-team All-Carroll County picks in soccer last fall, are reserve guards on the basketball team. Melody plays about 10 to 15 minutes a game and has scored 11 points this season, with four steals and four assists. Candice, who plays around eight to 12 minutes a game, hasn't scored yet this season, and has four steals and four assists.
The Browns, both center-forwards, say they enjoy the closeness of being twins. But they are easily identified by the difference in their hairstyles, with Dominique often wearing cornrows and Tommeaka having long hair.
There is also a major difference in personality. Dominique is fiery, while Tommeaka is on the quiet side. Dominique also has a love of shoes that separates her from her sister, Anne Jackson, the girls' grandmother said.
The Volands also embrace being twins. But unlike the Browns, they dress alike and wear their hair the same - which also makes it easy for them to sometimes fool people. They have traded seats in the classroom and switched jerseys for a basketball game, confusing everyone, including Williar.
"Last year ... they claim they accidentally put the wrong jerseys on for a game," Williar said. "So when I thought I was putting Candice in, it was Melody, and vice versa. Knowing some of the things I know - that maybe they switched places in class sometimes - I wonder whether it was by accident or on purpose."
A major disadvantage to having identical looks, Melody Voland said, is "if I do something outstanding on the court, the coach might think it was Candice."
But the Volands both agree that the positives outweigh the negatives, especially when it comes to sports. For instance, in basketball the Volands learned at an early age what to do if one of them collected four fouls early in a game.
"In their younger days when they played recreation basketball, if one got too many fouls, they'd switch shirts," said their grandmother, Judy Ross.
Ross said her granddaughters always have been creative. "They used to learn from each other," she said. "What one couldn't do, the other one could. One could open the door; the other could do the lights. They would teach each other."
Ross said the girls' problem-solving skills began when they were in diapers. They would figure out a way to take off their diapers, even though their grandmother would put them on backward to try to prevent it from happening.
"The one [twin] would take the diaper off [her sister]," Ross said.
While both sets of twins say they usually get along, there are times when they have moments of sibling rivalry.
The Browns have been known to sometimes bicker in front of their teammates, and the Volands became so angry with each other at home last year that they kept throwing clothes into a closet until it was filled to the top.
"I don't even remember what it was over," Melody said. "Something small I'm sure. I know our grandmother made us fold all the clothes."