Double Trouble on the Court

Basketball's Dana and Ian Smith

Despite the age difference of about 10 minutes, brothers Ian and Dana Smith are straight on just who is the oldest brother.

"Ian thinks since he was born first, he's supposed to act like the older brother," Dana says of Ian.

"Thinks?" Ian repeats.

"Ok, is," Dana says.

The two Harvard freshmen are probably closer than other siblings at Harvard. They are fraternal twins who could easily pass as identical twins.

"People say it's hard to tell us apart, and it is tough to tell us apart physically," Dana says. "But once they get to know us, they will be able to tell the differences."

Senior Kyle Dodson, a varsity basketball player whom each considers a big brother, agrees.

"They are identical to most people," Dodson says, "but when you get to know them, you start to see the differences in how they move, the physical differences such as one has a birthmark. They're so similar, but once you spend time with them, you learn what's different about them.

The similarities still outweigh the differences. The two have many of the same goals in life, and here at Harvard both played on the men's varsity basketball team during the winter. They competed at the same games in childhood and always dressed alike--although not by choice.

"My mother was very adament about that early on," Ian says. "It wasn't until we became fashion-conscious that she reluctantly allowed us to dress differently."

"I was more suave, Ian adds.

The decision for both to come to Harvard was easy.

"At the time, we figured it was the best choice for a mixture of academics and athletics," Dana says. "It was never really a joint decision, it was just best for each individual."

As the two finish off their freshman years, they feel they have grown even closer.

"Since coming here, we have gotten a lot closer," Dana says. "We have the same goals, and it's helped us."

Throughout the years, the two have provided each other with a fierce competitor as well as a fierce friend.

"Competing with each other the way we do has made both of us better," Ian says. "Competing day-to-day inadvertantly made us both better."

Yet the competitiveness was controlled. After all, you don't want to beat up on your brother.

"We never got into physical fights," Dana says.

And like most siblings, they are in constant contact, whether it is via telephone or if they just run into each other while biking around campus.

"I talk to Dana nine or 10 times a day on the phone," Ian says. "I'll call him at crazy hours, or he'll call me. If I'm watching something on TV, I'll call him, and he will be watching it too, and we will be thinking the same thing about what we just saw."

This feel for each other extends to the basketball court, where the two led their high school team to the Western Connecticut Athletic Conference championship.

"I know what he is going to do next, sometimes before he does," Ian says. "If I make a pass, and he's not there, then I know he's added something to his game."

Despite being only minutes apart in age, Dana and Ian both know who is the oldest.

"Since he was born first," Dana says, "he's the oldest brother."

"Better," Ian says.