When you’re watching the girls’ district soccer tournaments in Lexington next week, don’t be surprised if you start seeing double.
Three pairs of junior twins — Sidney and Simone Bibbs at Bryan Station, Camille and Carmen Downing at Lexington Christian, and Elizabeth and Sara Ueland at Henry Clay — all currently play soccer in Lexington.
“It’s a very special opportunity,” Simone Bibbs said. “When we’re on the field, I feel like we have a greater connection. We see things that people probably wouldn’t see in the stands.
“We’re focusing in on each other and are like, ‘I got you!’”
That special kind of “sixth sense” — popularly referred to as twin telepathy — has no backing from the scientific community.
“The idea that two people who shared their mother's womb — or even who share the same DNA — have a mysterious mental connection is an intriguing one not borne out in science,” wrote Benjamin Radford, a paranormal investigator and skeptic, in an article for Live Science.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to support the theory, though. And the Bibbs aren’t the only pair who feel as if their interconnectivity is enhanced thanks to the circumstances of their birth.
“You almost always know where they are,” said Elizabeth Ueland, slightly older than her sister Sara. “It’s different from playing with anybody else.”
Twins are an unusual occurrence, happening in about 3.3 percent of pregnancies in the United States. Identical twins — like the Bibbs — are even rarer at 0.3 percent.
The chances that three sets of twins would play on the same youth club team in the same year? Incredibly low, and yet it happened for one season when the juniors were all in elementary school.
Camille Downing said the trio of twins shocked people when they played. Players on their own team frequently got names confused, Simone Bibbs said.
“People didn’t really get it,” Camille said. “It’s rare to have one set of twins and then there’s three. And we made up our whole team basically cause we were so young and there weren’t many people.”
When they meet people, most assume Camille is Carmen’s younger sister, not a twin who’s actually a minute older. The two have “always done everything together,” Camille said.
Having someone around to constantly provide support is a luxury all of the twins said they cherish.
“There’s no better motivator than your family,” Sidney Bibbs said. “I feel like I play better when she’s on the field with me.”
Sibling rivalries can become a little more intense, too, when there’s a misconception that you should more or less be the same type of athlete.
“It can be frustrating because you have that sisterly competitiveness,” Camille said. “ ... If Carmen’s doing something really well, in my mind I’m like, ‘Well I have to go work on that ’cause I need to do really well at that so I can catch up with her,’ and vice versa.”
The class of 2018 might have a handful, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on soccer-playing siblings who share a birthday. Dunbar boasts three freshmen — Alison, Jason and Katelyn O’Hara — who are triplets. Jason also is the football team’s kicker.
Talk about twinning.
“It’s pretty cool,” Sara Ueland said. “The odds are pretty low, so it’s nice to have a couple sets of twins out there.”