by Andrew Garda
Twins and MHS senior tennis players Andrew and Kevin Wallace can’t practice with their team or even with a friend. They haven’t been able to go to the local courts, so they made their own instead.
“We actually built a backyard tennis court,” Kevin said. “Just a makeshift grass court. We practice our volleys, do some footwork drills or something.”
That kind of dedication was the sort of thing that helped push the 2019 Montclair High School boys tennis team to win its first sectional championship since 2014, and created the hope that 2020 would be as successful for the twins and their team.
Unfortunately, the season was erased by COVID-19, but the boys continue to work out on their backyard court as well as in other ways, too.
“I work out every day,” Andrew said. “I do abs, push-ups, whatever I can do to try and stay in shape.”
“I go to Mountainside [Park] and do sprints,” Kevin added. “But pretty much the same as Andrew. I’m working out a little bit, eating a little better.”
Staying in shape is only part of the daily routine for the Wallace brothers, as they both have schoolwork to do as well.
There’s still free time, though, and even as passionate as they are about tennis, the brothers keep themselves busy with other interests.
“I play the cello,” Andrew said. “So I’ll practice about as much as I can. I Facetime friends, watch TV. I’m watching “Mad Men” right now, which is good. I watch movies and play board games with the family, which is fun.”
Kevin does all that, but practices the viola rather than the cello, and also likes to read. They have been adding a few new things to their hobby list as well.
“I’ve actually been going on walks, which is not something I usually do,” Andrew said.
“I’ve been trying to convince myself to cook more,” Kevin said. “Some of my friends are cooking, like, curries and all these amazing dishes. I’ve made ramen a couple of times.”
Both boys are hoping things clear up in time to go to college in the fall. Andrew is heading to Cornell University, while for Kevin it will be Northwestern in Illinois.
“I am very serious about music,” he said. “And Northwestern does have a dual degree program where you can study music and something more academic. I think I might study economics.”
Andrew isn’t sure where the academic part of his journey will take him, so he needed a college with a wide array of choices.
“So I [was] looking for a college that’s kind of all-around,” he said. “In case I, like, don’t know what I’m doing. And I like a nice campus, but I guess everyone does.”
Northwestern was an option for Andrew, which would have had him attending college with his brother, but the twins are fine with going different ways.
“I think we’ve always agreed that going to different colleges would be a good thing,” Andrew said. “If we’d gone to the same college I wouldn’t have thought it was a bad thing, but we’re not like other twins who just have to do everything together. We’re more independent.”
“Even if we did go to the same college, we’d still have independent lives,” Kevin added. “We’ve lived with each other 18 years already. Not that I’m getting tired of him, but I think there’s a point where you need to go your separate ways, unfortunately.”
As they close in on the strange end to their Montclair High School careers, the brothers both say there are some things they will miss about the school.
“The people,” Andrew said. “That’s a pretty generic thing to say, but I’ve made some friends here that have been really good for me and have influenced me a ton. My friends, my family, and no more home-cooked meals, I guess.”
For Kevin, it was more about what hasn’t happened this past spring.
“I think I’m going to miss going to high school,” he said. “It’s a little bit weird, but now that [in-person] school [has] ended so abruptly, we’re just stuck at home, can’t see our friends, and we won’t have prom, we did kind of miss out on [some of] the high school experience, and I do wish I was at school.”
Neither twin ever thought that those last seven words would be leaving their mouths as they finished their high school careers.