<bt>Identical twins, Phillip and Michael Bouchard, 14, might have their differences as siblings often do, but they come together with their skill in basketball, as seasoned players for the McLean Youth League and their recent identical 2006 MVP awards.
A few weeks ago, under the guidance of coaches Bill Hannigan and Brian McNichol, the Bouchards were each given the nod as most valuable player in the McLean Youth Basketball League. After seven years in the league, the two played on separate teams this season — each winning their own title.
The twins are the fifth and sixth children born to parents Barbara and Steve Bouchard of McLean. Their sisters are Katie, 20, Allison, 18, and Ellen, 16.
Who is really fifth and who is really sixth, their mom recalls, is truly a matter of "conception." "Phillip was born first," she said, only because of a cesarean. "Michael would have been first the other way."
According to their dad, their distinct hairstyles showcase their personalities helping them to create separate visual identities. "Even though Phillip has 'this' hair he is really the conservative one. Michael is more risky," he said.
Like their hairstyles, the twins are different from each other. Phillip, loves to skateboard (rumor has it he could probably get a sponsor and become the next Bucky Lasek) and could likely go far with it, if he wasn't so convinced that it would take away from his summer fun, friends or high school academics next year.
Michael, loves music, performs vocals and plays guitar in a band called Twitch (rumor has it Tower Records has his first two CDs for sale). Differences aside, the MVPs do agree on one thing — their love of the game of basketball.
ASKED WHY they thought they received MVP, Michael said, "I play my best each time." And, Phillip noted that no matter what the ability of the other teammate he tries to involve all the players. Ultimately they agree that teamwork is important and that they are always up to the challenge.
Speaking of challenges, playing on different teams proved to be logistically trying, "We requested they play on the same team," said Barbara Bouchard, and admitted that splitting them up presented the family with challenges. It was inconvenient, recalls their dad, "They had games at different times and different places."
Phillip added, "Since we are both tall, when we play on the same team we usually win. We would have liked to stay together — it just seemed right that way." But, the coaches had other ideas.
The family managed to work out the kinks and move forward as did the star basketball players leading each team to first place for the entire season in their divisions, as well as finishing first and third in the tournament. Michael points out that the two of them have a "natural competitiveness" with each other. But, they agree that it's not mean-spirited. It's just ribbing each other for fun.
BEYOND BASKETBALL, the teens say they enjoy living in the community and are giving back, even at their young age. "We have worked at a local church feeding the homeless," said Michael, "and just volunteered at the Spring Hill and Chesterbrook Fun Fairs."
Phillip said that as a skateboard lover, "one thing McLean could really use is a skateboard park." And, even though they have been playing in the league since second grade and love it, the boys agree that they'd like to see individual middle schools have their own sports teams.
Future plans over the next 10 years for the Bouchard boys include possibly playing ball in high school, traveling the world (London for Michael and Greece for Phillip), getting more sleep (they're up at 5:50 a. m. on school days), playing music in clubs for Michael and hanging out with friends.
Asked what was best about being a twin, Michael replied, "That there is always someone around for you and to hang out with." In tandem, Phillip added, "yeah, and that can be the worst thing too," laughing.