Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Quintuplets share bond on, off basketball court

Exchange Family Lineup

In this Jan. 10, 2013, photo, Leah, Sam, Faith, Seth and Hope Thompson pose for a photo following a high school basketball game between Union and Randolph Southern in Lynn, Ind. Hope, Faith, Leah, Sam and Seth Thompson were all engaged in basketball at a young age by their father, Mark. While Seth is the only one of the quintuplets who decided to pursue other interests, they still share a family bond over the sport, with the four who still play each playing differently and providing a different skill. (AP Photo/The Star Press, Patti Blake)

MODOC, Ind. — Seth Thompson is quick to say he loves his family. But sometimes the senior at Union wants his peace and quiet.

For Thompson, a quintuplet, that can sometimes be difficult. His best bet is when both of the Rockets’ basketball teams are practicing. It’s then that the member of the school bowling team can grab a snack, turn on some music and lift weights.

“(I’ll) take my quiet time when I can get it,” he told The Star Press.

He’s the only one of the quintuplets who doesn’t play basketball for the school, with brother Sam a member of the boys’ squad and sisters Faith, Hope and Leah playing for the girls’ team.

“It’s really all I’ve ever known, so I don’t know what it’s like to not be one of five,” Seth said.

Their father, Mark Thompson, got the children interested in basketball at a young age. Seth also played for much of his childhood before deciding to pursue other interests instead. Weightlifting and bowling are now two of his primary hobbies.

“It’s easy to have something to talk about, because we all have an opinion about basketball,” Hope said.

While they share a family bond over the sport, the four Thompsons who still play basketball each play it differently, providing a different skill set on the court.

Faith, the tallest of the three girls, is the only one who’s primarily a post player. Leah is a guard with a propensity for defense and ball handling. And Hope is an especially aggressive guard known for her shooting, coach Lee Taft said.

“They each get different (and) various playing times and they each have different approaches toward it, toward the game,” Taft said.

Sam is a reserve guard on the boys’ team who coach Jeff Holloway describes as a “high-character” player.

“When he gets in, he never changes, his demeanor never changes,” Holloway said. “He comes to practice and works hard every day. And when he gets in, he goes in and there’s never any attitude, he just does what’s asked of him.”

The five siblings’ experience growing up together has made them adept at sharing (they also have two older siblings.) They’ve developed a system in which they verbally lay claim to things they might want, with control of the television, the front passenger seat in the car and first rights to the shower after basketball practice among the most coveted items.

“There’s always noise in the house,” Sam said. “Someone’s on the TV, someone’s on the computer. Someone’s eating, usually. It can be crazy sometimes.”

It’s a system that’s gotten better as the siblings have matured.

“Before, we’d all get mad about it,” Hope said. “We’d all fight about it and argue. But now, we really don’t care. First one calls it, gets it. I don’t know, it’s changed.”

The Thompsons celebrated their 18th birthdays on Jan. 7, an annual experience each shares with the four others. The event can be more complicated for them than for most people. Leah remembers growing up when friends would wonder if they should bring five gifts to a party or just one for the sibling with whom they’re particularly close.

Hope said she sometimes wonders if someone wished her “happy birthday” simply because they remembered it was one of her siblings’ birthdays and not because it was remembered as hers specifically.

“You don’t always get that special feeling,” she said.

The unique shared birthday does allow an opportunity for humor, though, and the siblings like to take advantage. Hope remembers a friend pointing out Faith recently had a birthday and asking when her birthday is.

Seth and Sam sometimes like to keep things interesting by denying it’s their birthday to some people while thanking others for birthday wishes. Sometimes the ruse gets particularly creative.

“I know one instance, we had a kid telling us all happy birthday and Sam and I were like, ‘It’s not our birthday, it’s our sisters’ birthday,’ ” Seth said. “He just started turning to people around him. He’s like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘Dude, I thought you guys were quintuplets for the longest time.’

“I’m like, ‘I don’t know why you thought that.’ I told him it would be cool if that were true though.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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