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‘Full of grace, full of mercy’

Kylee and Sadie Alvis are more than sisters

  • Incredibly close, incredibly gifted, Kylee (left in both pho- tos) and Sadie Alvis have set a standard in their community for doing good work and being an inspiration to others. - Ricky Williams

  • Incredibly close, incredibly gifted, Kylee (left in both pho- tos) and Sadie Alvis have set a standard in their community for doing good work and being an inspiration to others. - Ricky Williams

  • It was a trying year for the Anderson County High School Lady Mavericks basketball team. It was a year of transition. The Lady Mavs upset the Clinton Lady Dragons in the District Tournament and the Alvis sisters celebrated together when the game ended. - Ricky Williams

Where do you start? How do you begin? What one sentence or statement is going to grab your attention so that you want to read a story?

How about, “Once upon a time there were sisters …?”

Putting the words together for a story on Kylee and Sadie Alvis is not an easy chore. There is too much to convey, too much to set down in black and white.

Mitch Cupples, the head basketball coach for the Anderson County High School Lady Mavericks, summed up the Alvis sisters in a short interview for this story with eight words: “They are full of grace, full of mercy.”

How did these two sisters achieve that? That’s what is hard to convey, to put down in black and white.

And how do you begin to tell their story?

See, they are not just “sisters.” They are twins.

And this isn’t a story about sisters who happen to be twins, although that is what makes you realize there is something worth writing about.

Then you get to know them. You learn a little about them. You find out what others think about them. You realize these two young women leave a wake of inspiration and kindness wherever they go.

So, it’s about two young women who have made a mark on the world in which they live, who have lived a life filled with love, and who have shared that love with others.

“Isn’t that what the Lord told us to do, love others? Kylee and Sadie live that,” Cupples said.

The Alvis sisters knew love from the beginning.

Sadie was born first, probably wrestling with Kylee to be the first one into the new world. They both entered our world at 8:08 a.m., 30 seconds apart.

They have stayed close ever since.

“When they were toddlers, I’d have them in walkers in separate rooms and they would make this ‘clicking noise.’ They were talking to each other, communication with each other,” Alicia Alvis said.

Lesson No. 1: The Alvis sisters are in tune with each other.

Alicia and John Alvis were high school sweethearts. Look no further for a true storybook romance than John and Alicia Alvis.

And to make it even more of a cliché, Alicia said she knew she would have twins.

“Yeah, it sounds kinda corny,” Alicia said, laughing. “But I told John, ‘We’re going to have twins.’ And we did.”

There were early signs, as noted, about how close the Alvis sisters/twins would be.

Alicia and her mother, Sue Walls, received further confirmation when Sadie went to a cheerleading camp.

“We go up to meet her (pick her up at camp) and Sadie runs up and hugs Kylee, and my mother (Sue Walls) says, ‘What am I? Chopped liver?’ That’s how much they mean to each other,” Alicia said.

The sisters followed similar paths in school, but when it came to sporting events, the differences in the girls came into focus.

“Sadie is more, ‘girlie,’ I guess is the word,” Alicia said. “Sadie wanted the makeup and the hairdressing. They both played basketball, but Sadie wanted to quit. She said, ‘I don’t like it. People are chasing me and trying to hurt me.’

“This is in … Middle school? And then she (Sadie) says she’s going to be a cheerleader and she starts learning how to do cartwheels. And I told her she was a little behind schedule to be starting cheerleading if she’s just learning to do cartwheels,” Alicia said.

Lesson No. 2: Never tell Kylee or Sadie Alvis they can’t do something. They won’t believe you.

Sadie persevered.

Not only that, she was also named captain of the Anderson County High School cheerleading squad.

While Sadie took the path of cheerleading, Kylee took the hoops route.

And she’s good, too.

So good that when she signed an athletic scholarship with Lincoln Memorial University to throw discus and shot put, a lot of people thought there had to be a mistake in the fine print.

Kylee had thrown in track for one year before catching the eye of an LMU track coach.

Let that sink in for one minute.

“I think LMU said she could play basketball, too,” Alicia said. “But basketball is demanding, it takes a lot of your time and energy, and Kylee is very loyal. Very loyal. She signed to throw and that’s the commitment she made, so she won’t play basketball because it takes too much commitment to do both.”

Lesson No. 3: If Kylee or Sadie tells you something, believe it, bank on it, trust it with your life.

Cupples saw that commitment this past year. Actually, he saw more than the commitment, he saw the leadership.

“Kylee is a calming force, a steady force,” he said. “She doesn’t get too high or too low. She’s very consistent with her demeanor and actions.

“And she helped the younger kids along without being asked,” he continued. “She just has this goodness about her. I can’t say enough about her, really.”

There are so many stories and anecdotes about the Alvis sisters you would need a small printing plant to publish them all.

See, everyone has a favorite Kylee and Sadie story. And they are all good, funny, uplifting, and inspiring stories, too.

There may be a basketball official or two out there who may have a negative word about the Alvis sisters (Sadie stomps her feet a little harder in the cheering section when she feels her sister isn’t getting the calls from refs during a game), but it would be in jest.

Lesson No. 4: The Alvis sisters are each others biggest fan.

And their sporting lives didn’t always revolved around basketball and cheer.

At one time they were ready to carry the standard for the storied Anderson County High School volleyball team.

The sisters took to the volleyball court in middle school.

“I was so glad that both Sadie and Kylee decided to play volleyball at Norris Middle School,” former Lady Senator volleyball Coach Jeff Harshbarger said.

“Together, they brought fun and fierceness to our team. At the start of their eighth- grade season, I fell in love with the thought of having twins play the setter position. However, Sadie’s skill set was different from Kylee’s, and so she was moved to play outside. I thought that moving Sadie out of the setting position while leaving her sister as setter would be upsetting to her. I was so wrong, as they both flourished and were able to share complementary roles for our team.

“In their three years at NMS, the twins helped the team to 96 wins with only 11 losses, and were back-to-back sectional champions. More importantly, they accomplished these accolades with dedication, kindness, and joy for each other and their teammates. I am proud to say I had the opportunity to coach these wonderful young ladies.”

The Alvis sisters/twins have extraordinary athletic ability. Simply put, they are talented and gifted. But they are compassionate competitors.

Lesson No. 5: Look in the dictionary under “sportsmanship” and you should find pictures of Sadie and Kylee Alvis.

“Many things stand out when you think about Kylee and Sadie. Naturally, you think about their athletic abilities; basketball, cheerleading, track and field,” said Ricky Williams, who has been friends with the Alvis family for many years and worked with Kylee on the ACHS track and field team.

“Their academic success and their leadership qualities are well known,” he said. “However, there is one thing I want to comment on here. It’s their faith in God and the relationship they have with Him. Their love of Christ is evident in how they treat and act toward others. When they interact with other students, teammates, coaches, teachers, and administrators, you see that love. I see it when they include young children in their activities and make them feel a part of Anderson County sports. It’s a blessing to watch them share God’s love with other people.”

It’s one thing to be a good athlete, to compete at a high level, but it’s a whole upper level of commitment to do so and remain humble while representing, with class, the people who have come to admire you.

“Sadie and Kylee have been great ambassadors of Anderson County High School the past four years,” Anderson County High School Principal Ben Downs said.

“They have been involved in so many things around campus and our community. We are lucky to have had them as students at our great school.

“Everything they have done — cheer, basketball, track and field, academics, clubs, and all the many other activities, they have represented our school in a first-class manner. I can’t say enough good things about them.”