Like most twins, Angela and Christiane Armendariz are not totally alike. Christiane is very talkative and assertive; Angela is quiet and shy. Angela has had a boyfriend for more than a year, while her sister prefers the company of her friends.
Still, as twins, they do share a lot--namely, their looks and athletic ability.
Although many twins look alike, how many are also three-sport stars? In the same three sports? The Armendariz twins, a pair of bubbly 16-year-olds from Glendale High, can make that claim.
They excel in softball, basketball and badminton. Yes, badminton. "It's kind of looked at as a wimpy sport," said Christiane, who, as the older (by six minutes), is allowed to speak first. "But we don't think so. We like it."
Introduced to the sport by their father when they were in the fifth grade, the twins are among the best badminton players in the country. Last year, Christiane was the junior national champion. Angela was second. As high school freshmen a year ago, they teamed up to claim the CIF doubles championship.
"A lot of people really think badminton is stupid," Christiane said. "Not so much the girls we know, but the guys. They think they can kill us. But we always say (that) whenever they want, we'll take them on. We haven't had too many volunteers."
When it comes to softball and basketball, the twins are almost as good.
"I don't think we're as competitive in the other sports," Angela said. "She's a forward, I'm a guard. In softball, she plays catcher, I play shortstop. It's a team game. We can't go head-to-head. In badminton, we both want to be the best, and it usually means going against each other."
Said Christiane: "In badminton, you're on your own. It's up to you and your skills. In the other sports, there are teammates to help you. You can't do everything yourself. That takes some of the fun away."
Both girls said they don't have a favorite sport. Although they agree badminton is their best competitively, they enjoy playing all three equally.
"Athletically, they are very balanced," said Cari Meadows, Glendale's basketball coach and assistant badminton coach. "While badminton is their top sport, with a little work, they could be just as unstopable in basketball. And they're fairly good students, too. And neat kids. Real fun to work with."
This season, the twins have chosen to play softball instead of badminton. Both are spring sports, so they had to choose between them. Christiane opted for badminton, but Angela won that argument.
"She does win some, occasionally," said Kasie Romero, the twins' cousin, housemate and softball teammate. "Angela's really not a fighter; me and Christiane fight all the time. They get along really well. Inseparable."
The twins agree that they are not special. "We're just people who want to have fun with what we're doing," Angela said. "We don't have to be the best. We want to be good, but this isn't a chore. We want to have fun."
Because having fun and getting an education are their top priorities, the girls agree that college is more important than any of the sports they play. They want to attend UCLA, and if they are offered an athletic scholarship, they will take it--in any sport.
But what they really want is to win the academic battle at UCLA. Christiane plans to major in biology. Angela wants to become a pediatrician.
If they're still playing badminton in 1992, the Olympics are a goal, they said. Will they play singles or doubles?
"It doesn't matter," Angela said. "We're one person, so we're the same! And we're both pretty good."
Christiane said, "Yeah, we're good. But you're just born with it. You either have it or you don't."
The Armendariz twins, obviously, have been doubly blessed.