BY RACHEL CHARLTON, Staff Reporter
It’s the classic tale of two siblings. One is admittedly high strung while the other is laid back and easy-going. While they only argue over the ‘stupidest’ things, for Tarah and Lauren Duty, life wouldn’t be the same without the other.
Despite a two-year age difference, Tarah, a senior and Lauren, a sophomore do everything together. Raised in Maple Valley and Black Diamond, the sisters each started playing soccer at age five. From recreation to school teams, their love for the game grew as they did. Throughout the years, they’ve made countless memories.
“Any year that we played together has been memorable. My senior year of high school when Lauren was a sophomore was a fun year just in general,” Tarah said. “This year, for me, is special because I’m a senior again and I still get to play with my sister. That’s been cool.”
As for Lauren, going through the ‘exhausting’ preseason with Tarah and their teammates is worth it because in the end, priceless memories are created.
“Even though preseason is really hard and exhausting, it’s always really fun because we do a lot of team bonding,” Lauren said. “This year we floated the river and went to the rodeo. All the stuff that we do as a team ends up making really good memories.”
Making the decision to play soccer at Central was a relatively easy choice for Tarah and Lauren.
“If I wasn’t going to play (collegiate) soccer then I would have wanted to go to the University of Washington,” Tarah said. “But as soon as I decided for sure that I was going to play soccer then Central was first choice.”
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Lauren also made the decision to become a Wildcat, playing alongside Tarah once again.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to play soccer somewhere and I was looking at a few other schools like Eastern, because that’s where our parents went,” Lauren said. “But Central was my best option because I’d get to play with my sister and it was close enough to home so I could go home on weekends.”
Playing for a university doesn’t come without challenges. But through the support of their family, Tarah and Lauren have managed to balance school, their social lives, and soccer throughout the years.
“In high school our games would conflict with dances and so we’d have to pick our sport over the dance,” Tarah said. “In college we missed our cousin’s wedding because we had a game.”
Both agree they missed out on a lot of ‘fun’ things that most normal teens get to do but in the end, “Soccer has always been worth it. Everyone understands that it’s our life,” Lauren said.
Tarah, one of nine student-athletes on the team named 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference, has maintained a 3.74 grade-point average. She’s majoring in elementary education.
“Being able to be successful as a student as well as in soccer, like this year having a pretty good season, and being able to balance school is a good accomplishment in itself I think,” Tarah said.
Lauren admires her sister’s drive to succeed in soccer and school.
“She’s always known that she wanted to be an elementary teacher,” Lauren said. “As a soccer player she works really hard but then as a student she’s also really hard working.”
Balancing soccer with school is a fine line to walk, but both agree that the biggest aspect to remember is they are student athletes not athlete students. Putting academics first can prove to be difficult when the team is often on the road missing three to four days of school but through organization and communication, they make it work.
“We’re both avid planner users,” Tarah joked.
Both sisters share a sense of humor and are quick to pick one another up if one is in a slump with a simple joke or sarcastic remark.
“We have the type of relationship where we’d joke around with each other to cheer each other up rather than the whole long hug and emotional speech thing,” Lauren said. “I’d say some positive words and maybe a little joke to make her smile.”
Despite their seemingly carefree attitude, Tarah and Lauren explained the traits that they admire in the other after serious contemplation.
“[Lauren’s] confidence and her passion is what I admire the most. I think she genuinely cares about other people and regardless of whether she’s super close to that person or not, she will always be there to support them. She’s really confident and even if she doesn’t always feel like it, she shows it,” Tarah said.
Perhaps it’s just part of being an older sister, but Tarah’s natural leadership stands out the most to Lauren.
“She knows she’s a leader and the team knows that too. She’s not a leader because she feels like she has to be but because she wants to be and she genuinely cares about each individual on the team and wants to help them out,” Lauren said. “She’s passionate about being a leader and helping everyone out.”
With her senior year coming to an end, Tarah’s advice to Lauren is for her to keep playing her game and to focus on who she is as a player and not let anything get in the way of that.
Both sisters intend to stay in Washington to be close to family, with Tarah in the education field and Lauren in public health. As for the distant future, Tarah sees herself married and teaching fourth or fifth grade in Issaquah. Lauren intends to be the “awesome aunt” helping raise little soccer players while working in the health sector.
Tarah and Lauren say they will continue to support one another on and off the field, occasionally butting heads if Tarah’s ‘high-strung’ personality conflicts with Lauren’s ‘laid back’ approach. But all it takes is something funny to be said for them to forgive and forget.