Side by Side…Stone Style

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

No two siblings are alike, some are best friends, some have years between them and others have different interests and goals. Different interests and goals is not the case with the Stone Brothers. They have been side by side throughout their growing life and now shoulder to shoulder in the sport that continues to drive their brotherly bond.

“I don’t think we missed any of each other’s games,” Mike Stone III said. Mike Stone III is a senior at Weeki Wachee High School while his brother Tommy is a sophomore. Both are actively involved in high school sports, both football and baseball.

Having an older sibling, especially in high school sports, has its benefits. Mike’s encouragement and support for his younger brother make an impact in Tommy’s performance and vice versa. “He (Tommy) would come into the locker room (after the football game) and we would talk about the other team, and things that he can see the opposing team do, but I couldn’t. It’s just little things like that,” explained Mike. Those little things add up. They form memories as well as communication and trust.

Tommy Stone played JV (Football) until the season ended on October 15, 2015 and was bumped up to varsity. “He (Mike) would be on the other sideline holding the markers, and smile at me,” Tommy laughed. With his older brother being on the varsity football team, this gave Tommy a greater advantage. “We actually have the same position, Defensive Back, he was teaching me the plays when I was on JV and now, being on varsity, I am ahead of the game,” said Tommy.

As for parents, to witness the relationship between their sons strengthen through sports gives them a sense of accomplishment as well as pride. “They would both be on the sideline with each other at the game (football), if one of them was hurt, they were the first one to be down there by their side, which was kind of neat to see in brothers,” Mary Stone said. “Friends will come and go in your life, but your brother will always be there,” she stated.

“The support is huge… It’s literally one on one,” Mike Stone Jr. said. Those “one on one” facets insure the teenagers’ relationships are secure on the field. “If I have to sum it up in two words it would be support and motivation,” said Stone Jr.

Even though Mike graduates in 2016, that still gives them time to play side by side. Mike Stone III mentioned applying to the University of Florida as well as showing interest in sports medicine. For Tommy, it’s starting where his brother left off. “He’s a big supporter of my life… everything that I’ve done,” Tommy said.

When asked if there is one piece of advice or words he would like to instill in his brother, Mike replied, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. That would be one thing I would want him (Tommy) to remember.” Tommy said, “I love you, bro.”

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