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My favorite mistake


Usually when I call an athlete by a sibling's name, the interview goes south pretty fast. Not Tuesday evening in Rock Falls. Not at all.

If an interviewer accidentally called the teenage version of me by one of my brothers' names, the interview likely would have come to a screeching halt.

See, not only did my older brothers and I not look alike. We didn't really see eye-to-eye. So I might have gone all Ryan Leaf circa 1998, coincidentally the year I graduated from high school. Or maybe reacted the way Jim "Don't Call Me Chris" Everett did on The Jim Rome Show in 1994.

Great googely moogely. I just realized Delaney Mahoney likely wasn't out of diapers when those events took place. Heck, she wasn't even around when the latter occurred.

Back to the present, I repeatedly referred to Delaney as Maisie during Tuesday night's Big Northern West throwdown at Tabor Gym. I did so several times on Twitter. A few hundred miles away, in St. Louis, Maisie had to be taken aback that I was accusing her of a flurry of lifts.

My mistake was finally unveiled as I interviewed Cydney Long, and I brought up "Maisie."

"No, that's Maisie's little sister, Delaney," Long corrected.

I knew that. Of course I did. I'd profiled Maisie last March, a few months before she split for the University of Washington in St. Louis. She's running track there and continuing to tear things up in the classroom.

The error drew quite a bit of interaction on Twitter, including a favorite from Maisie. But here's where things get kind of neat. And it makes me hopeful for our 45-day-old twin girls.

I told Delaney she should consider it a compliment, and she agreed. No surprise. During my interview with Maisie last year, she gushed about how neat it was to compete with her kid sister, even exchanging the baton with her during relays. It doesn't take long with student-athletes like the Mahoneys to realize how seriously they take both of those jobs, and how down to earth they are.

I've called a kid by his/her brother's name more times than I can count on both hands. More often than not, it evokes, at the very least, an eye roll. But the Mahoney sisters' admiration for each other lent to nothing but warm and fuzzies in the misidentification.

It reminded me of my girls at home. But then, what doesn't these days? I've watched my daughters literally trope toward each other. They've also (perhaps inadvertently) tried to claw each others' eyes and kicked each other with great force (by infants' standards).

I have to tip my cap to the Mahoneys' parents. I hope, through all the laughter and all the tears, we can continue to nurture such admiration between our girls.

- Christopher Heimerman is the assistant sports editor at Sauk Valley Media. Email him at or follow@CHeimerman_SVM on Twitter.