Two years ago both brothers were invited to try out for the U.S. team for lacrosse's World Games. Joey gladly accepted the invitation and eventually helped lead the U.S. to the championship of the sport's most prestigious event. Gary wasn't even interested enough to try out.
The Seivold brothers also perform well in the classroom. Both are history majors, and although Gary has a higher IQ, Joey outperforms him. Joey has a 3.8 grade point average and last spring made Phi Beta Kappa. While the other honorees' names were read during the induction, the audience politely held its applause. When Joey's name was called, the quiet and dignified ceremony came alive. "All of a sudden the place roared," recalls Joey. "Coach Scroggs had the team run over from the practice field to Memorial Hall, and they were all up in the balcony in their dirty sweats and cleats."
"Some kids are considered bright because they're hard workers," says Scroggs. "Joey would be a bright kid without working hard, but he works real hard, too. If he doesn't get a good grade on a paper, it's like not playing well in a game. It bothers him."
The Seivolds grew up on an 11-acre farm near Parkton, Md., about 25 miles north of Baltimore. "Where we live, there weren't any neighborhood kids, because there aren't any neighborhoods," says their mother, Sarah. "So they had to play with each other." They spent endless hours shooting at a lacrosse goal their father, Joe, a four-time All-America at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., set up in the backyard. When they became bored, the brothers would sometimes go into a nearby barn for a litte target practice—at bats hanging from the rafters.
Although Joey and Gary also excelled at baseball, basketball and soccer, they knew lacrosse was their sport. After all, their father is in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and from 1959 to 1970 was a standout player and then coach for the Mt. Washington Lacrosse Club, a celebrated group of former All-Americas who keep sharp by playing a schedule of college and club rivals. "Among my friends around Baltimore, your idols weren't baseball players," says Joey. "Your idols were lacrosse players. Lacrosse was the sport."
Scroggs recruited the Seivolds out of Baltimore's Gilman School, an expensive private school that features one of the country's best lacrosse programs. Until they were 10th-graders, the Seivolds received free schooling at The Park School in Brooklandville, Md., where their mother taught. But Park was in the substandard B Conference, and its lacrosse team received little attention. So Joe, who supervised the probation office in Towson, Md., decided to dig deep into the family bank account and send the boys to Gilman in hopes that their talents might earn them college scholarships. The gamble worked. Now Joe and Sarah drive the 6� hours from Parkton to Chapel Hill for every home game.
The Seivold brothers have always been close, and they play together beautifully. Joey is a well-proportioned 5'11", 170-pounder, while Gary, who is four inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter, is a comparative wisp. "Gary's not a real big kid, so he gets beat up and knocked around a lot," says Scroggs. "Every game, he has 200-pound guys beating away at him for 60 minutes." While most attackmen cherish scoring goals, the self-effacing Gary looks forward most of all to his brief stints on defense. "It's kind of nice to be able to hit your defenseman after he has been checking you all day," he says.
Despite chronic shoulder separations that make it nearly impossible for him to lift weights, Joey has a 90-mph shot that has been known to burn through nets. Joey isn't as quick as Gary, but he is ambidextrous. He plays soccer with both feet, throws a baseball righthanded and tosses a football lefthanded.
The way the Tar Heels figure it, if they could win the national championship last season with only one Seivold, their chances this season with two are pretty good indeed.