By Mike Vlahovich
Lyrics from the ditty written by Irving Berlin for the Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun" assert that "Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you (no you can't, yes I can)."
Liberty Lake sisters Ashley and Kasey Ames took the prescient paean - written before women's liberation and Title IX - to heart, although it's hard to imagine things could be better in the Ames household.
On Nov. 23, Kasey, a junior midfielder, was part of Central Valley High School's unprecedented state 4A soccer championship. Two weeks later, Ashley, four years Kasey's senior, did little sis one better.
Ashley's Concordia University in Portland, Ore., won the NAIA national soccer title.
"To see the kids win the ultimate game, the pride comes from how happy they are," said their dad, Bill Ames. "I got close in high school but couldn't pull it off. For them to be able to do that, to be part of something like that, means an awful lot."
Just by being the elder by four years probably gave Ashley the right to woof. But any banter between the two was good-natured, as both got in their licks.
"We have fun and joke about it all the time," Ashley said. "I hold it (winning a national title) over her head, but we both went as far as we could go."
Countered Kasey, "Right after our game, I called and said we won the state championship. Of course, she had to one-up me. We were happy for each other."
Despite the age difference and fact they went to different high schools, the sisters have mutual respect, and Kasey said the two are close.
"I usually go to her for advice, even when she's in Portland," Kasey said. "I looked up to her starting soccer because she was doing it. We play together, and she taught me a lot of what I know."
The feeling is mutual. Ashley said her sister could play anywhere after high school.
"I'm trying to get her to come up to camp here," she said during a call from Portland. "I want her to experience the team and sport."
She added that Kasey prefers hot weather and would likely play somewhere else.
Ashley graduated from Gonzaga Prep, where her mother, Kara, attended. Her parents had moved back here when she was in sixth grade and Prep president, the late John Trainor, who had taught with Bill's dad at University, pitched the school where her friends were attending. She was all-GSL.
She said her club coach advised her to choose a college she'd enjoy attending even if she got hurt and couldn't play anymore. It was Concordia.
"I came in as a freshman and had some fair playing time," she said. "I had to take a back seat behind older girls, and it made me work hard to become a prominent player on the team."
She started her sophomore season and scored a couple of goals for a team that reached the national finals. This season, the forward became more of an attacker and, although a halftime starter, led the Cavaliers with 12 goals and added a trio of assists.
Kasey, meanwhile, was making her own mark at CV, where her friends had headed. She was a scoring leader for the Bears as a sophomore, and during this year's 17-1-1 record and 4A title, filled a roll in the middle and was a shootout penalty kicker.
In the semifinals, she scored the next-to-last penalty kick on a shot that hit off the cross bar and fell into the net. She couldn't participate in the title shootout because a hamstring tightened up and she couldn't walk on it.
"It was emotional," said Kasey of the championship. "It's unexplainable."
Bill shuttled between Portland, where Ashley was playing a tournament match, and to Kasey's match in the Seattle area. He flew to Alabama for the NAIA final, sending back reports.
Sports is a four-generation thing for the family.
Comparing the girls' style of play, Kasey said that Ashley is faster, but they share their physicality.
Both sisters have another season, and it leaves you wondering what they can do for an encore.
"We talk about the future," Kasey answered. "There's nothing we can do better except win again."