The banter of a large family is always something to look back at and put a smile on your face as you get older.
For Emma, Ben and Adam Harbourne, triplets who are seniors at Foothill High School, they have enjoyed the best of times while growing up, with playing sports being the center of their lives.
Athletics started early for the trio, who are now 17-years-old, turning 18 in September.
“My parents gave us soccer balls when we were 4,” said Emma. “I just loved it and stuck with it. I tried dance for a while, but I just loved soccer.”
“I think I played all sports when I was 4,” said Ben. “At 8 or 9, I wanted to pick a couple of sports. I went with soccer because I wanted a team sport. I really like golf as well because you have to rely on yourself. I enjoy the pressure of having to count on myself.”
Adam followed suit sports-wise with Ben until two years ago. It was at the beginning of his junior year Adam was approached by the Foothill football program about being the kicker.
He took the job and had a good two-year career, including a 48-yard field goal this year as the Falcons won the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) Valley division and advanced to the North Coast Section finals. It was way different than playing golf or soccer.
“I was really worried about that first kickoff,” said Adam, who earned all-EBAL honors. “I just kept my head down and focused on hitting the back of the ball.”
The three are wrapping up successful high school athletic careers.
Emma played four years of soccer at Foothill, with three years as a starter on the junior varsity team and this year on the varsity; she scored the winning goal in a first round NCS soccer game.
Ben played four years of soccer at Foothill, as well as two years of varsity golf. Adam played four years of soccer as well, including three years as the starting goalie. He is playing golf this year, as well as the two-year stint as the Foothill kicker.
All impressive resumes for high school athletics. The question which begs to be answered – who is the best athlete?
Enter the good-natured sibling bantering.
“That is so hard,” said Emma. “We all have different athletic abilities and have all done well. We are all competitive – it’s always fun to see would win. But there are some sore losers.”
Ben was more straight to the point – on everything Emma offered.
“We are all athletic, but I have a lot of confidence so I would have to pick myself,” said Ben, with Emma and Adam laughing in the background. “And I am definitely the sore loser.”
Adam confirmed Ben’s feelings – to a point.
“Ben is the most natural athlete,” said Adam, then quickly added. “But I have worked a lot harder than him.”
The trio have been tight their entire lives, something that really was one of the lone bright spots during the COVID lockdown.
“It was always nice to have someone around to play with,” said Emma of her brothers. “During COVID we had each other. We could always do stuff like run out and get lunch together.”
Emma also recalled the chaos of youth sports days with all three playing.
“It was hectic growing up getting to different practices and different games,” said Emma. “People would always say, oh my gosh, you are triplets. For us, everything came naturally.”
Was having two brothers burdensome in terms of being over-protective?
“I was the little bossy one when we were growing up,” said Emma with a laugh.
“We all got our licenses the same day,” said Ben. “There was a lot of bantering about who would get theirs and who would fail.”
Of course, they all passed. And they were better than your average siblings when it came to confrontation.
“We would get annoyed with each other sometimes, but we always got over pretty quick,” added Adam.
Now that the end of senior year is rapidly approaching, the trio will be at the end of their run at the same school. All will look to play sports, be it the intramural or club level.
Adam (3.9 GPA) and Ben (3.7) will both be attending Arizona State – they will live in separate dorms, to which Adam slid in “it’s probably a smart decision.”
Emma – a 4.0 student – is waiting to hear back from a couple more schools but will not be attending ASU.
“It will be weird not having them around,” said Emma of her brothers. “But I am excited about it.”
“It will be nice to have Adam around,” said Ben of college. “It will be different to not have Emma there.”
What will be the lingering memory the three will carry forth?
“I think watching them play soccer," said Emma. “I would always tag along and watch them play. I was such a fan, always yelling for them, then also telling them they have to get better.”
Ben’s favorite memory also relates to soccer.
“I would have to say it was having Adam on the soccer team with me,” said Ben. “We got to finish our high school soccer career by beating Amador.”
Adam harkens back to the end of this football season.
“I think it would be Senior Night for me,” said Adam. “Hearing my name called and walking out on to the field and seeing them there. I will always remember that.”