A dinner that a mother and wife has prepared for her family sits ready and waiting for them at the table.
As the food gets cold, two teenage sisters rush through the house, trying to have something to eat between their high-school field hockey game and their competitive hockey practice, as they swap their cleats for skates and prepare to head out again.
The lives of an athletic family make for a hectic schedule, but the McDonells have become accustomed to the routine over time.
“The kids started young and they wanted to experience different things,” Carol McDonell said during one of her daughters’ practices. “The scheduling was getting out of hand.”
Jordan and Jaimie McDonell attend East York Collegiate, the same school as both of their parents. Active participation must be hereditary because the girls have followed in the paths of their mom and dad, getting into sports in a big way.
The youngest of three, Jordan plays ice hockey, field hockey, beach volleyball, soccer and is a TDSSAA champion in wrestling for EYCI. She also won a box lacrosse national championship last year.
Jaimie plays field hockey, ice hockey, coed volleyball, beach volleyball and softball for the school and is an active executive on the athletic association.
The two sisters also play hockey for the Toronto Aeros, coming into women’s hockey recently from bantam boys’ Double-A.
Both girls earned the 2009-10 honours for female athletes of the year at EYCI and Jaimie has taken home the award for the last four years.
The sisters have not only captured the attention of their school, but also those they play against, as their field hockey coach, Kathy Smith, has seen.
“Anyone who watches the East York team will notice that there are two extremely talented players that stand out,” Smith said, after East York’s semi-final win. “When we play against other teams the coaches always mention Jordan and Jaimie because of their skills and their team play.
“They are just so far and above everyone else.”
Because of the sisters are so close, Smith has found that they pass well and work together on a level that is above and beyond the rest of the team. Jordan thinks playing with her sibling makes part of the game easier.
“It’s fun because you kind of know where she is on the field at all times,” the 15-year-old said of her older sister.
Jaimie shares Jordan’s feeling of enjoyment on the field.
“It can be interesting at times, but overall it’s really, really fun,” Jaimie said.
Though they have found much success on the field, the mat, the courts and the ice, their mother doesn’t think they always work so well together at home.
“Like all kids they have their moments when they would love to kill each other,” Carol said. “But they like to laugh and joke around with each other.”
The sky is the limit for how far the girls can carry their athletic talents, as Jaimie has already been pursued by colleges and universities, with more offers for both teens soon to come.
“I’ve been contacted by a bunch of schools,” Jaimie said. “I have a long list right now. It’s going to get narrowed down.”
Both girls are honour roll students and the chances of Jaimie achieving her goal of attending an Ivy League school are great. Her ambition is high, but she won’t be leaving sports behind.
“I want to continue ice hockey and I want to eventually become a sports entertainment lawyer,” Jaimie said.
The 16-year-old’s younger sibling has lofty aspirations as well.
“I want to get a scholarship for hockey to the States and then I want to go and study kinesiology,” Jordan said.
As the McDonell parents look forward to the prospect of their daughters getting free post-secondary educations, they know that Jaimie and Jordan aren’t the only ones who have benefited from everything they’ve taken part in.
“The friendships that they’ve made, that we’ve made, the work ethic, their social skills,” Carol McDonell said, rattling off the rewards of her family’s lifestyle. “I think they’ve developed as young females, having different experiences and being able to share and talk to people. They just seem happier.
“That has probably been the best thing for us.”