Tonawanda News

May 8, 2013

NT's Helf sisters' chemistry key for Lady Jacks

By Owen O'Brien scoreboard@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Megan and Lauren Helf have had a ball or bat in their hands since they were old enough to walk. However, following a suggestion from a friend, the two found their favorite sport, which happens to be played with a stick.

The Helf sisters are midfielders on the North Tonawanda girl’s lacrosse team. Separated by 20 months, they find themselves competing with each other both on the field at practice and at home, but on game days, the two have the ability to use their relationship to help guide the Lady Jacks (2-7).

Megan is a senior and three-year varsity athlete and Lauren is a sophomore playing her first year of varsity. Neither girl knew much about the sport before entering high school.

Before the start of the spring season of Megan’s freshman year, she had planned on playing softball. It was only after her friend’s suggestion that she considered trading in her softball jersey for a lacrosse kilt.

“I didn’t know anything about (lacrosse),” Megan Helf said. “But I’m glad (Maziarz) convinced me to play because it’s my favorite sport now.”

When Lauren entered high school, Helf returned the favor and told her she should join the team as well.

While their mother, Michelle Helf, enjoys any opportunity to snap a picture of the two standing on the same part of the field, Megan Helf is only concerned with trying to help her younger sister improve, admitting sometimes done through “constructive yelling.”

Lacrosse interested the two for entirely different reasons. Aside from their friend’s recommendation, Megan, who does cross country as well, has always enjoyed running and knew lacrosse had more running than softball. Lauren just enjoys playing contact sports.

They both agree the adrenaline rush is unlike anything else when playing in a lacrosse game.

“The rush kicks in running up the field, dodging the defense, making plays to win,” Lauren Helf said. “I can’t really compare the adrenaline rush to anything else.”

The battles go beyond the green grass field for the Helfs as home does not always provide a sanctuary. Occasionally, if one girl is in the shower, the other sister will run into their room to steal clothes for school that day. Lauren also recalled an experience where her older sister pulled her hair for not closing the door.

However, despite tough sisterly-love, Michelle sees how close the two sisters are and how Lauren looks up to Megan.

“Lauren has always said she never wants to do the same things Megan does and I think she looks up to Megan more than she will let other people know,” Michelle said. “I think she has seen all that Megan has done with her sports and many different activities and she wants to follow along and do the same.”

On the field is where their connection is strongest. Just by being together so often off the field, they have noticed it is easier to know where each other will be on it.

“We can read each other better, which makes it easier to play together and better know what will happen next,” Megan Helf said. “We better know when one of us is going to cut or pick which helps.”

For their mother, it is just a wonderful opportunity to see her daughters thrive together wearing the same uniform. Despite some disagreements on certain days, she knows the strength of their relationship.

“They have their fights but when they need each other, they are there for each other,” Michelle said.

The Helfs hope to lead North Tonawanda to postseason play and earn only their school’s second playoff victory in girls lacrosse history.

Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.

Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.