While growing up as brothers, Andrew and Jesse Schwartzman relished head-to-head competition.
They were never far from the next argument, the next wrestling or shoving match, the next trip to the back yard, where the boys would grab their lacrosse sticks and re-enact the ritual. The older Andrew would fire shot after shot at Jesse, who was charged with defending the goal.
This week, they are treading on new ground. For the first time, the brothers, who teamed up three years ago to lead Pikesville High to a state championship, will be operating on opposing sidelines. When Maryland and Johns Hopkins renew their storied rivalry for the 100th time tomorrow at Homewood Field, a slice of the confrontation could feature Schwartzman vs. Schwartzman.
Andrew is a junior midfielder at Maryland, where he plays on the second unit for the Terrapins. Jesse is a freshman goalkeeper who has started one game for Hopkins, now backs up sophomore Scott Smith and has guarded the net for 90 minutes in his first season.
What a strange, conflicting week. Their parents, Robert and Debbie, each graduated from Maryland in 1977. Since their sons first picked up sticks, each around the second grade, they were taken regularly to watch Terps games at Byrd Stadium. They've also seen their share at Hopkins. But, typically, the family has rooted for Maryland.
The lines have been drawn. Ever since departing after a family dinner on Sunday at their parents' Owings Mills home, the sons have not spoken. Nothing personal. Strictly business. And more than a tad awkward.
"We kind of have to keep a distance. It has to be like that. We're preparing for [Hopkins] and their tendencies, and [the Blue Jays] are doing the same thing for us," Andrew said. "As much as we love each other and respect each other, we're extremely competitive."
"I've always played with [Andrew] or we've been on different [recreation] teams in different age groups," Jesse said. "I've never played against him. We usually talk the night before a game and wish each other luck. I don't think it's going to be like that on Saturday. It's weird."
The oddness of the buildup is equally appreciated back home.
"We've gotten three questions for months: Who are you going to root for? What are you going to wear? Which side [of the field] are you going to sit on?" said Robert, a Baltimore attorney who played club lacrosse at Maryland after first trying it on an organized level at Pikesville High and estimates he has witnessed about 35 Maryland-Hopkins games. His wife is a manager at a fitness club.
"I've decided I'm going to be completely neutral as far as clothing," he added. "If it's possible, maybe I'll change sides to sit on for each half. We're just hoping for our kids to play well, and that it's a good, exciting game."
It would seem the Schwartzmans were destined to be together as Terps. Besides the Maryland connection they were born into, Andrew and Jesse pushed each other and rooted for each other as rec players, then helped put Pikesville High on the lacrosse map.
Andrew, who is a lean 6 feet, 183 pounds, played attack his whole life until converting to midfield this year. He has scored twice this season. He set high school records for career points (200) and single-season points (85) as a senior. He capped his Pikesville career with a seven-goal show in the state final, after which Maryland pursued him aggressively. Playing for his dream school was an easy call.
Jesse, a beefier, 6 feet, 210 pounds ("My big little brother," said Andrew), started every game of his four-year career for the Pikesville varsity, was a two-time lacrosse All-American and was the more hotly recruited of the brothers. He strongly considered Maryland, Virginia, Georgetown and Duke, but he looked at the Hopkins tradition, its intimate campus and academic curriculum, and decided to break the chain.
Chances are they will not renew their sibling rivalry directly, at least not tomorrow. But if Jesse suddenly is inserted into the game and Andrew finds himself in a shooting position, it will feel like the back yard all over again.
"[Andrew] definitely had my number some days. Other days, I'd get the best of him and stop most of his shots. Then we'd go inside and fight," Jesse said.
"That competitive edge goes back to when we were little kids throwing each other off of our parents' bed and busting each other's heads up," Andrew said. "I would have loved for [Jesse] to come to Maryland. It would have been awesome to play with my brother."
Come tomorrow, one of them has to win, the other has to lose. And Dad anticipates the moment when he is congratulating one while consoling the other.
"It's a wonderful situation," Robert said. "It's not really a conflicting week. It's an exciting week. We [as parents] can't lose."
Matchup: No. 4 Maryland (8-1) vs. No. 1 Johns Hopkins (7-1) in 100th meeting in the series
Site: Homewood Field
When: Tomorrow, 8 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2
Series: Hopkins leads 62-36-1
Tickets: Sold out