They're a veritable yin and yang in their mindsets, which turns out to be a good thing for brothers Jordan and Josh Buckley.
Whether it concerns the aftermath of a game, a practice or that daunting algebra test, the two Grace Brethren High students and baseball teammates always find there is much to discuss on their daily drive home from Simi Valley to Newbury Park.
"I'm a pretty positive guy and he tends to be negative," says Jordan, a senior outfielder for the Lancers. "He's such a good athlete, but he also gets down on himself when he feels like he didn't play well. I get him up, and he brings me back down to earth. That's the way it works for us.
"We usually have a pretty productive talk on our drive home. We talk about everything — what happened in practice, or the game, what's going on in school. By the time we get home, we have everything sorted out."
Family bloodlines invariably produce close ties. Toss in a bond developed as teammates — like Jordan and his younger brother Josh, who is a junior catcher for the Lancers — and the result is frequently a relationship stronger than Atlas and as richly layered as a birthday cake.
"Its definitely good just having him there every day," said Josh. "He's someone I can always go to, always talk to. No matter the situation, he will be there for me."
Oh brother! Or is that sister-brother, sister-sister-sister?
It's one of the quirks for the county's high school sports teams this spring and, actually, throughout this school year:
Area programs in a variety of sports feature scads of sibling combos playing key roles in their team's success.
Grace Brethren baseball features two pairs of prominent brothers. There is also senior Pierson Ohl and sophomore Carson Ohl, both ace pitchers and lineup stalwarts.
At St. Bonaventure, junior left-hander Jake Saum has developed into one of the best pitchers in the Southland. He's been joined on the Seraphs this season by younger brother and freshman catcher Charlie Saum.
The Ventura boys tennis team's surge to the No. 2 seed in Division 3 and playoff quarterfinalist has been fueled in large part by brothers Max and Ty Cohen.
Newbury Park's swimming programs feature Jason Lu, who polished off his sixth individual Marmonte League championship two weeks back, and younger sister Sarah Lu, a junior who won the league's 100 backstroke title.Present and future stars in the Agoura High swimming teams are freshman Ellie Shorten, competing in two events in the girls CIF-SS Division 2 championships, and junior boys standout Reid Shorten.
Harken back to the winter campaign and what's a basketball season without the Bova Clan?
Brothers Nate and Sam Bova — or two-fifths of the renown quintuplets — helped the Foothill Tech boys basketball team reached the CIF-SS Division 5AA championship game. The most impressive sister trio around — Abby, Emiline and Katie — led the Foothill Tech girls to the Division 4AA final.
Siblings don't necessarily need to play on the same team to forge a bond closer than litter puppies. Embracing the same sport can strengthen a relationship.
Blake Crisp, the standout senior setter for the Westlake High boys volleyball team, and Elizabeth Crisp, a star junior outside hitter for the Warriors' girls team, each say their love for their common sport has fortified their brother-sister unity.
"I definitely think it's made us a lot closer," said Elizabeth. "He started playing in the fourth grade, I started in the fifth grade. We both love the sport, we're both very competitive, and it's something we always talked about.
"I can go to him for advice. We watch each other's matches as much as possible. He's not only my brother, he's become my best friend. We even take the same psychology class and we do projects together."
Blake, among the Southland's top setters who is headed to UC San Diego, said its a plus having a sibling who's also a sounding board.
"She knows me, she knows volleyball," said Blake. "It's just cool having her on my side. She's always there to give me perspective."
The Crisps are unable to play on the same high school team together, but they've frequently paired up in co-ed beach volleyball.
"We know each other's game pretty well," said Blake. "That's a big plus. I always feel like its an advantage because there is nothing we can't talk about."
Said Elizabeth: "It's always fun to be on the same side. We're both competitive. We'd compete at everything when we were growing up. We both like to win, and it's even nicer when we win together."
Blake is a setter and Elizabeth is an outside hitter, but brother said his sister can play anywhere on the court.
"She's actually a fantastic setter," said Blake. "She's an impressive player. More than anything, I'm proud of her."
The brother-sister bond may not be the main reason why both Crisps have excelled in volleyball, but it doesn't hurt.
Blake is a four-year starter for the Warriors who has been selected by the school as Westlake's Athlete of the Year. Before moving on to UCSD, he's slated for a memorable summer.
He's been selected for Team USA's Junior National training team and will compete in international play in Nicaragua.
"It's been a good four years," said Blake, whose Warriors reached the second round of the Division 1 playoffs Thursday night before losing in five sets to Huntington Beach. "My family has been a big part of it. I'm sad that it's over, but I'm ready to move to the next phase of my life."
Elizabeth is a first-team all-Marmonte League and all-county player who will be a key cog for the Warriors next fall. A year from now, she said a reunion with her brother is not out of the realm.
"Absolutely. There's a good chance it could happen," he said. "I've talked to the coaches at UCSD. I'm interested. It would be fun to be at the same school as Blake again."
Jake Saum concedes he carried mixed emotions on having his brother Charlie join the Seraphs baseball team.
The good news: His brother would be there every day. The potentially bad news: His brother would be there every day.
"I was a little worried about the back and forth that might go on," said Saum, a junior. "We're both competitive. There were going to be games where he was the catcher and we had to make it work."
The upshot? It's gone as smooth as a vanilla shake.
"It's been really cool," said Jake. "Just having him here every day and being able to talk about everything has been good for me and him. When he has caught my games, we've been on the same page. We both want to win. It's helped us become even closer."
Charlie faced the task of adjusting to high school and varsity baseball in the same year. Having an older brother who's the star pitcher has eased the transition.
"It's helped me a lot," said Charlie. "I know what to expect. I see how he has handled everything. I know I can go to him if I need to talk about anything."
Brothers will be brothers, and the Saums grew up competing over all manners of recreational pursuits. A game of monopoly could turn into an ultimate fighting main event.
"We'd compete over pretty much everything," said Jake with a laugh.
The sons of U.S. Navy Captain Mike Saum are used to being on the move. The last time they played on the same team was on a youth baseball team in Hawaii.
Now that dad is stationed at the Port Hueneme Naval Base, the brothers are happily at home in Ventura County and Southern California.
"I love it here," said Charlie. "I like the school and the area. I like the weather. I'm right at home."
Charlie is finding his role as the Seraphs' backup catcher as he settles into varsity baseball. Jake is flourishing as an ace pitcher who is already committed to UCLA.
On Thursday night, in his final pitching stint before starting in the playoff opener, Jake struck out a team-record 19 batters in a 3-0 shutout victory over Fillmore.
"I definitely feel like I'm a better pitcher this year," he said. "I'm learning to be more calm and more focused. Last year, I just went out and threw. Now I'm thinking about every pitch and hitting locations much better. I'm more relaxed."
As good as Jake is, he's excited for what Charlie can become.
When Jake visited UCLA last season on a recruiting trip, he brought Charlie along.
"I think the UCLA coaches were more interested in him," Jake said with amusement. "I'm excited for how good he can become. Maybe we can be teammates in college at UCLA."
As Grace Brethren and St. Bonaventure end up sharing the Tri-Valley League baseball championship, much of the storyline for the Lancers all season have been the Ohls.
Pierson Ohl, a senior right-hander, is 7-2 with a 0.61 ERA. Connor Ohl, a sophomore right-hander, is 6-2 with a 1.24 ERA. Pierson is hitting .392 with 31 hits and 14 RBIs; Carson is batting .356 with 21 hits and 17 RBIs.
Ok, sometimes stats do matter — in a brotherly context.
"We compete about everything," said Pierson. "But it really pushes us both to do better. If I do something on the baseball field, he wants to do it too. We compete in school, too. If one of us gets an award, the other wants it too.
"I kind of think it helps both of us be successful."
Grace Brethren has been the beneficiary of a starring brother act.
Pierson is the one with the most experience — he was the starting pitcher in the CIF-SS Division 4 championship game a year ago — and Carson takes advantage.
"Whenever I pitch, Carson is taking notes on everything," said Pierson. "He wants to know what pitch worked and what didn't. He wants to know the location. He's always trying to get better and I'm glad to help."
The two Ohls aren't twins — they just look like it. They both bring the same outgoing personality to the table.
"We're alike in a lot of ways," said Carson. "It's been fun being on the same team because we do know each other so well. I can talk to him and he can talk to me. I think that helps (in sports) because there are always going to be challenges."
The brothers grew up playing together as they competed in Simi Youth Baseball. Pierson is going to Grand Canyon University and, yes, Carson could someday join him there.
Carson concedes that his older brother just might be the better pitcher — for now.
"He's older and has more experience," Carson said with a grin. "He throws harder than I do. But I like to think I'll be right there when I'm a senior."
Grace Brethren teammate Jason Buckley, meanwhile, said it's getting harder and harder to match up with his younger brother.
"He's getting older and bigger and he's a really good athlete," Jason said of Josh. "I know I can't beat him at everything, That's fine. I just enjoy having him on the team with me."