By Jim Sullivan
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Tensions are getting tense in the Bartol household again.
Late for field hockey practice one day last year, Newburyport’s Emma Bartol grabbed one of her younger sister Delaney’s sweatshirts and headed out. She had no idea what she was in for.
“It said ‘Bad Dogs’ on it,” Emma said of the offending sweatshirt, which was emblazoned with the girls soccer team’s nickname. “My team wasn’t too happy.”
Needless to say, Emma got a hard time from her teammates. But it’s nothing compared to what she endures from Delaney when she gets home during the fall season.
“That’s the only thing we fight about,” said Emma. “Because there has always been this rivalry between soccer and field hockey. They call themselves the Bad Dogs. We call ourselves the Clippers. It can get pretty awkward. We argue and my parents have to calm us down. She thinks that soccer takes more skill and I think that field hockey does. It gets real heated.”
Currently a senior center-forward and co-captain (along with Mary Pettigrew and Molly Stanton) for the Clippers field hockey team, Emma now vies for her parents’ attention with her sophomore soccer-playing sister. Delaney played outside-back as one of only four freshmen Bad Dogs last year in a program with a long and storied history, tallying nine assists along the way.
“We fight sometimes,” said Emma. “But when it comes down to it, she’s my sister.”
Things weren’t always like this for the sisters.
“When I was little and (Emma) was playing soccer, we used to play together,” said Delaney. “Because my dad (Todd) was the coach, and he would let me play with her, which was a lot of fun.”
Field hockey eventually called out to Emma when she reached high school, while Delaney remained on the pitch.
“I loved the sport as soon as I picked up a stick,” said Emma. “It’s always worked for me. Soccer, I never really felt that love for. Field hockey I’m passionate about.”
Delaney is just as passionate about soccer.
“It’s a great experience and we have a lot of fans,” Delaney said of playing with the Bad Dogs. “It’s just like we’re all a team, and we’re all together all the time.”
Although she has teammates she considers sisters on the pitch, Delaney knows Emma is ultimately the one she can always fall back on.
“We are really close, we do everything together,” Delaney said. “She’s like my best friend. I know it’s cheesy but we’re really, really close. It’s seriously going to be hard for me when she leaves.”
With Emma playing her final season in field hockey, the end of the Bartol rivalry may be in sight.
“I think it’s probably good for us,” said Emma. “I’m still going to come to games because I’ll have the time.”
With both Newburyport teams undefeated on the young season, both Bartol sisters are looking forward to a memorable year.
“I think we can do really well,” Emma said of the field hockey team. “Judging from (the 4-2 victory over North Reading last Thursday) and we can only get better.”
The Bad Dogs are always looking to dominate the CAL.
“Both teams are really good,” said Delaney. “Each team has always been really good and have always pushed each other.”
The Bartol sisters
Sport: Field hockey
Position: Outside back