The Schneider brothers have played sports together for as long as they can remember.
From fiercely competitive backyard games, to total teamwork in Duck athletics, the four siblings are now growing into new roles in their athletic brotherhood. Josh, the oldest, is on the Taylor Duck coaching staff. Michael and Luke play on the varsity football team, and Ryan, a 2017 Taylor graduate, is cheering from the stands.
For the coach and two players on the field, respect is the component that makes this unique combination work.
“It’s the respect we all have for the game,” said Josh. “We all want to do well, and we all want our team to do well. They respect my knowledge of the game, and I know they can play well and I’ll be able to tell them something that will help them improve and they know that as well.”
“At home we joke around,” said Luke. “But when we get here, he’ll tell us what we did wrong, or what we’re supposed to do. If we do good, he’ll say good job and we take him seriously.”
From watching sports on TV, to informal competitions around the house, athletics have always played an important role in the Schneider brothers’ lives.
“Anyone who knows us knows that sports have always been a very integral part of who we are,” said Josh. “Whether it’s in the back yard, on the driveway or running around the neighborhood, we’ve always been playing something. Anything you could name, we’ve probably played it.”
Their mom, Renee, remembers a time when the boys were younger and couldn’t find their ball. They used Michael’s shoe as a replacement and were throwing it over the house.
“He [Michael] was late for school the next day and I was teaching there at the time so I walked down and asked Bernice the secretary what Michael said about why he was late,” Renee recalled. “He said it was because they couldn’t find his shoe. Then they finally remembered it was on the roof from the day before and had to go get it.”
Growing up, the brothers were tough on each other. The games were always for fun, but the siblings took each play seriously and always pushed hard for the win.
“I think the reason they’re so good is they never went easy on each other,” said Ryan’s wife, Ashley. “When one was little and the other was big, they didn’t care if the other one was little they would knock him down anyway.”
Although watching sports events on TV provided many great family time opportunities, some of the fiercest competitions came after watching a televised game.
“During every A&M football game, there was a huge football game in the back yard at our grandma’s,” Michael said. “Halftime was interesting. Sometimes there’d be fights, someone might get hit with a shovel or something. It got pretty intense and it definitely made you a lot tougher. Cause, you know, in football, if you’re not tough you’re not anything.”
The siblings agree that their highly competitive activities always ended with positive results because their parents, Chris and Renee, wouldn’t let them stay mad at each other for very long.
“One time they locked us all four in a room together because we were fighting and said we had to stay there until we could get along,” Michael said with a laugh. “What happened was we ended up sneaking out and going to McDonalds, and we all ended up getting along.”
If a squabble went on longer than it should, Renee would have them form a circle with their hands in the middle and say, ‘Brothers Unite’. Chris believes his boys greatly benefited from learning how to settle their differences.
“At the end of the night they would all pretty much get along,” Chris recalled. “They’ve always surprised us with just how well they do get along. You hear stories from families about how they don’t get along and won’t talk to each other and then they live out the rest of their lives like that. It’s character building on their part to let stuff go when it needs to be let go.”
Through all the squabbles and competitions, the bonds between the brothers have only grown stronger with time. Their best memories include when Michael and Ryan were teammates in basketball, and now Michael and Luke on the varsity football team. Next year Michael and cousin Thomas will be on the varsity team together. For the coach and two players, this current experience is providing memories that will last a lifetime.
“When Luke gets a block for me and I score a touchdown and Josh is all jumping up and down on the sideline,” said Michael. “All of a sudden we’re all in one spot going crazy together and it’s just like being in the back yard.”
In addition to coaching, Josh is also a teacher at Taylor Middle School. Having two of his brothers on the team is making his first year in the profession extra memorable.
“The moments in the game, whenever one of them scores a touchdown and being able to celebrate together,” said Josh. “I’ll remember flashes of that, kind of like in a movie. I’ll remember starting practice with them, being in on the huddle and a part of the moment with these guys. It’s been a really awesome experience.”