Paul Valencia: Traveling part of DuChesne family game

Commentary: Paul Valencia

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Luke DuChesne has known his best friend his entire life.

Emma DuChesne met her best friend about 66 seconds into her life.

It probably took the twins at least a week or two before they started playing basketball.

photoCamas guard Paige Jackson (left) and Mountain View guard Emma DuChesne (right) battle for loose ball during high school basketball action at Camas high school. (Steve Dipaola for the Columbian)

Since then, the twins and the sport have been inseparable. Now seniors at Mountain View, this is their last season of high school basketball. The girls team and the boys team both made it to the bi-district tournament this week.

This is a family game for the DuChesnes. Dad, Nate is a coach, now head coach at Mountain View. Mom, Paula, was a state champion point guard in Montana. Little sister Maya, 12, plays, too.

The family has moved a few times, chasing down Nate's dream of coaching.

Changing schools, changing states, is never easy on the children. Luke and Emma, though, never left each other.

"That's the reason God gave me a twin," Emma said. "Luke and I always have each other's backs. It's unbelievable to have a twin who's also my best friend. I'm really lucky to have him."

"It's very special to have someone that close to you who is always with you and always will be with you," Luke said.

Emma and Luke still remember their dad coaching at La Conner High School when they were little. At the age of 3, the family moved to Stanwood, where dad became the head coach there.

"Stanwood was a tight-knit community. He was like a star," Emma said of his father. "It was fun being his daughter."

Later, Nate went to the college ranks, coaching at Edmunds Community College. At the time, the twins still figured on playing for Stanwood High. Until Nate got an assistant job at the University of Montana. The family moved before the twins were sixth-graders.

"Making that move was really tough. We had some really good friends. Luke and I dreamed of going to Stanwood," Emma said. "That's all we had really known."

The twins had to rely on each other.

They excelled in Montana, both finding new teams, finding new friends. After three school years there, Nate was on the move again. This time as an assistant at Portland State. The family chose to move to Vancouver.

"Moving from Montana wasn't as bad because I'd done it before," Luke said.

"All the adversity we have gone through really has built character," Emma said. "We know how to make friends."

They also relied on one another.

"A lot of brothers and sisters, they try to avoid each other at school, like they are embarrassed," Emma said. "What we have learned to do is when we're making friends, we stick together. We make the same friends. Our friends are the same people."

They also said sports have been a huge ice-breaker, both in Montana and again in Vancouver. They both played fall sports for their new school at Mountain View.

Basketball got even more personal for Luke when Nate was hired as Mountain View's head coach when Luke was a sophomore. Luke said it was tough, at first, being the coach's son. He never heard any negative comments, but he put that pressure on himself that he better perform.

Luke also said he was never forced into basketball. He said he would have found the love for the game regardless of his family.

The family just makes it all the better.

"Going home and talking about games is a real treat," Luke said. "I see myself turning into my dad. I see my sister turning into my dad. That's a cool feeling. It's been fun. I'm going to miss it a lot."

Emma plans on playing for Everett Community College next school year. Luke is undecided. Everett is a possibility, but he also said he wants to give Emma "some distance."

They've been together their whole lives. That will not change, even if they are miles apart in college.

Family, friendship, basketball will always keep them together.

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at paul.valencia@columbian.com.