A confusion experienced by many others also has happened to me at a past state swim meet. I crossed paths with Duluth head coach Jim Reason and said hello, only to have him give me a brief nod as if he had no idea who I was.
At first, I’m thinking, “Is he mad?” and “I’ve talked to the guy hundreds of times and he blows me off.” Then I realized it wasn’t Jim Reason. It was his identical twin brother Dave, the head swimming and diving coach at Kennesaw Mountain.
What: Gwinnett-Cobb Twin Challenge
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: West Gwinnett Aquatic Center
Local teams: Duluth, Peachtree Ridge
Noteworthy: Donations of non-perishable items will be collected and distributed to each community’s local food back
“It happens all the time,” Jim Reason said of those scenarios. “My parents, even when (Dave) has a green shirt and a Kennesaw Mountain hat on, will talk to him and he’ll say, ‘I’m not Jim.’ We warn our kids not to freak out, that they’ll see a guy with jeans, boots, hat on backward just like me. But the first time they see him, they go crazy, ‘Oh my gosh, they look exactly like each other.’”
Fellow identical twin swim coaches Jeremy Laird (Peachtree Ridge) and his brother Jonathan (Campbell) don’t have that problem. Jeremy is clean shaven while his brother sports a beard.
But like the Reasons, the Central Gwinnett grads both share a lifelong love of swimming. And the existence of the two pairs of brother swim coaches — one from each family in Gwinnett, one in Cobb — makes for a unique situation.
With that was born the inaugural Gwinnett-Cobb Twin Challenge, scheduled for Friday night at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center. It should be a competitive event as team, county and family bragging rights are on the line.
“I think it will be competitive, that’s just the nature of being a twin itself,” Jeremy Laird said. “We’re the youngest of six (children) and we were all into athletics, so we’re very competitive.”
The pre-holiday meet was excitement enough for the head coaches and their families, though has some extra meaning, too. Non-perishable food items will be gathered at the meet to donate to each community’s local food bank. Each school will have a food box for donations, creating another level of competition.
“We’re all very blessed, we’re all very lucky,” Jim Reason said. “It’s a good chance to give back to others and serve our communities.”
Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays.