Newman tennis coach Ann Propheter split up her No. 1 doubles team against Dixon on Thursday. Unfazed by separation anxiety, sisters Christina and Emily Long won their singles matches, and the Comets won the meet.
If you think that's impressive, you should see them play Just Dance. So we're told.
Christopher Heimerman: When you were told right before the match that you were going to play singles, what did you think of that?
C: I was surprised. I didn’t think I was playing singles I thought I’d play doubles with her again. I was OK with it, but surprised.
E: I was happy, because I knew Mary Alice and Anne wanted to play doubles and they’d do a better job than we would. I was happy. And I wanted to play Katie sort of, to see if I was better.
You not only hung with her. You beat her. What was the key?
E: I just stayed positive the whole time, which is weird, because I get down a lot. But if I lost a point, I was able to keep having fun, because I knew her. I was just in a really good mood.
So you guys go way back?
E: Yeah. We danced together when we were little, in Centerstage.
How old were you then?
C: I was in like second grade when I started, and we started at the same time, so…like kindergarten for her.
What was the conversation with Katie like after the match?
E: I think she was disappointed that she lost. But she was very nice to me and told me ‘Good job.’ She played a really good match and hit some really nice shots that I couldn’t get.
Was there any separation anxiety when you guys were playing singles? You not only were playing singles, but there was a court between you. What was that like?
C: It was a little weird, just playing by myself. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to encourage me.
In your match with Jenna, there were such long points. Did you feel like you wore her out?
C: I think so. And she wore me out, too. I just had to keep being patient and hitting it back. It was tiring, but I just kept going at it.
What is it like playing with your sister?
C: I like it, because we get along and know what each other is thinking.
Hypothetically, if we made you play each other, how would that play out?
E: I think it's gone either way. Sometimes she'll win, sometimes I'll win.
What is your favorite thing about tennis?
E: It's just so fun to play.
C: And it's all the people in it, too.
E: Like, today we're playing Dixon, and I know all these girls, because we all take lessons together in Dixon during the summer. I'm friends with all these girls, so it's going to be weird competing against them.
Any good Emma Hubbs stories? Or what's the best thing she's taught you?
E: To just have fun. Don't worry about the score. Just have fun with it.
Emily, with Christina being the older sister, do you kind of have to fall in line, or is it an even playing field?
E: I think it's pretty even. I started playing before her, so I think we're at the same level. We can read each other's minds, I swear. Like at home, we finish each other's sentences and stuff. It's the same on the court. We know what the other is thinking.
So it's not just tennis, I assume. What other interests do you share?
C: We like the same music and…
In unison: We both work at the same place.
As you finish each other's sentence. Where do you work?
C: Cobblestone 51 in Dixon.
What kind of music do you get into?
C: Any pop music.
E: Yeah, current music. But not rap.
Do you like the same movies?
E: Yeah. We like "The Heat."
C: Comedies. Yes.
Christina, do you know what you want to study in college?
C: I think I'm going to go to Sauk and play tennis, then transfer to a university. I want to be a dietician. I've always been into nutrition stuff.
Emily, you have some time, but do you know what you want to do?
E: I either want to be a meteorologist or a nurse. Two very different things.
What inspires those interests?
E: I've always liked the weather, and I watch my favorite meteorologist every night, Eric Sorenson from Rockford.
Is he just really good at his job? Why do you like him?
E: He's funny and very relaxed about it. We got to meet him a couple of summers ago, and I have his autograph now, which is really cool for me.
When you met him, were you star-struck?
E: I wasn't star-struck. I was just really happy to meet him, because he's such a role model to me.
Any hobbies, or any hidden talents?
C: We both play the piano.
E: Everyone says we're good at dancing. Whenever we go to parties, they say "We have to watch Christina and Emily play Just Dance!" We've both been in dance, and we've memorized a lot of the dances.
Now, my wife has roped me into playing Just Dance, and I know that can get competitive. What's that like at home?
E: She always beats me. I don't know what she does that's different.
C: But we play all the time, and it's always really close.