What sometimes sparks an altercation is something so trivial.|
From Isaiah Ellis' perspective, it was footwear.
Ellis recalls the exact moment, remembering the practice as if it happened the previous day. Standing on the Public Schools Stadium track, the Rock Island freshman sprinter immediately found a reason to call out his brother Derrick that soon start a typical sibling spat.
Derrick wore Isaiah's socks to practice.
"I'm the only one in the house with black socks," Isaiah said. "I knew they were mine. He doesn't have black socks."
Another set of Rocky track brothers -- Brandon and Brian Richardson -- found one more argument spark.
"We always fight about clothes, socks and shoes," Brian said. "It's brotherly love."
Despite the arguments, love does define these siblings.
Sure, there may be a disagreement from time to time, but mutual respect and admiration forms a unique bond within each set of brother that cannot be broken. Taking a few minutes to chat with each of them reveals that.
"It's fun," Isaiah Ellis said. "It's special."
From a talent standpoint, this group fits that description. Derrick Ellis, a senior, and sophomore Brandon Richardson compiled two legs of last year's Class 2A state title-winning 4x100-meter relay. Those two, plus junior Brian Richardson, help form Class 3A's 10th-fastest 4x100 after it ran a 42.92 at the Shipley Invitational three weeks ago.
The lone freshman in the group -- Isaiah Ellis -- may have the highest ceiling among the group, at least in his brother's eyes.
"I want him to get past me," Derrick Ellis said. "I have one state championship ring -- I want him to get two or more so we can keep that tradition going."
All Brian Richardson wants is one title.
Part of the reason Brian joined the team for the first time this spring is so he could run with his brother. Another motivation comes from walking through his living room.
"We've got a podium in our house with stuff on it," Brian said. "I go past it and see (Brandon's state title) ring. I want to get one."
A competitive streak fuels this relationship.
"We compete with each other," Brandon said. "But it's a good thing having him on the team."
The Richardsons have two seasons together, allowing them to further build a relationship that is athletically gifted and tight. Both are two-sport athletes, but Brian does not play football and Brandon takes the basketball season off. Because of that, the spring is their time to compete against each other.
One season is all the Ellis brothers have with each other, so they are soaking up the experience.
"I like it because I can show him how it is to be a champion," Derrick Ellis said. "He'll be right behind me trying to do everything I do. If there are any mistakes he makes, I can correct them because I've a good four years in this program."
For the most part, the brothers have the ultimate respect for each other and their abilities on the track. Things get different when it comes to outerwear.
"Arguments," Brandon Richardson said.
The Ellis brothers encounter the same issues.
"It's some brother-brother fights just like the Richardsons," Derrick Ellis said. "They fight about their clothes at practice every day. Sometimes (Rocky coach Ed) Lillis will have to stop them from arguing. We'll probably look back in the future and just laugh."
The future, though, is something each brother is cherishing.
"We're enjoying it," Brian Richardson said.
There's no argument needed with that answer.
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