Childhood friends now rivals on the court

Rebecca Sharp and Amy Rickel have never attended the same school, but the two have become best friends, having spent almost their entire lives playing sports together.

Tonight, however, the friends will find themselves on opposite sides of a volleyball net, sharing a court for the last time as Meadowdale, with Rickel, plays host to Edmonds-Woodway, with Sharp, in a nonleague game at 7 p.m.

“We get along so well. We’re just the perfect mix,” Rickel said. “We always wanted to be on the same team. We never wanted to not play together. It’s so weird seeing her across the net in a different jersey.”

It’s a rare moment when Sharp and Rickel, who have played sports together since their first-grade soccer team named the “Shoccers” (“Shockers” meets “soccer”), find themselves competing against each other. Tonight is just the fourth time it’s happened between the friends, who both made junior varsity as freshmen and have spent the past three seasons on their schools’ respective varsity teams.

Rickel and the Mavericks have gotten the best of the Warriors of late, sweeping the past two matches 3-0.

“I’m super excited. Especially since we’re rival teams. It’ll be really fun to play against her,” Sharp said. “The past couple years they’ve beat us. That’s really driving our team to win this year. I think we’re pretty evenly matched. It’ll be interesting to see how things go.”

Rickel and Sharp met in scouts in first grade and have been friends since. During the past 11 years, they have played on every recreational soccer, softball, basketball and volleyball team together.

“We met in Girl Scouts in the first grade,” Sharp said. “My mom was the scout leader. As soon as we met we became super-good friends. We wanted to do everything together. We joined a soccer team together in first grade and ever since then we’ve been on the same team.”

Added Rickel: “Everything. Soccer, basketball, softball, even when we went to select volleyball we tried out and made the same team.”

The pair decided volleyball was their favorite sport in middle school, and began playing for club teams. The choice made them choose between their two favorite sports: soccer and volleyball.

“It was a tough decision because soccer and volleyball are the same season in school,” Rickel said. “We like (volleyball) more. We feel like we’re really good at it. We started doing club volleyball in seventh grade. Both (of us) decided that was our favorite sport and to stick together.”

Due to Edmonds School District boundaries, the two have never attended the same school. However, that barrier has done little to keep Sharp and Rickel from being best friends.

“We’re very similar. She’s like a sister to me,” Sharp said. “We like the same things. We’re both just kind of the same personality. We just kind of fit. I think that’s why our friendship has lasted for so long. We’re both very relaxed and just go with the flow. It works for us.”

Despite going to different schools, Debbie Sharp, Rebecca’s mother, said that the two are always together.

“I think always being on the same sports team, they probably spent more time together than they would have going to the same high school,” Debbie Sharp said.

The girls are finally going to end the opposite-schools streak when both leave for college after this year. Rickel and Sharp aren’t sure where they’re going to go to school — the pair really like the University of Portland and Western Washington University — but they are sure of one thing.

Wherever they end up going, they will be together.

“We’ve always gone to different schools,” Sharp said. “We’ve been best friends for so long so we think it would be cool if we could go to the same college together and be roommates. ? The thing is we always end up doing homework together, too, anyway, but actually seeing her at the same school as me seems like a weird concept. It’ll be fun.”

Rickel, a libero, and Sharp, a setter, don’t plan on playing volleyball for their university — although they suspect they’ll play for fun occasionally. Instead, Sharp and Rickel want to use their college years to find out what other activities they enjoy besides just sports.

“For both of us, since we’ve been playing sports our entire life it’s all that we know,” Sharp said. “It’ll be kind of nice when we go to college to find out some other things we enjoy.”

Tonight will be the last time Rickel and Sharp — who usually root for each other and their rival teams — share the court in a competitive volleyball match, and they aren’t the only ones who think it’ll be a little weird.

“I can’t even talk about it without crying,” Debbie Sharp said. “I’m sure all of us (parents) will be blubbering in the stands.”

Rickel thinks seeing her best friend across the net may give her an advantage.

“It’s weird, but at the same time it’s almost an advantage to me,” Rickel said. “When she’s serving I know what kind of serve she has. I know what she tends to do.”

Sharp agreed. In fact, the two agree on pretty much everything.

Except, who’s going to win the Warriors-Mavericks volleyball game tonight.

“Definitely Meadowdale,” Rickel said. “We’re going to crush them.”

“Oh, it’s going to be Edmonds-Woodway for sure,” countered Sharp. “We’re going for the win. There’s no mercy.”

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