It is not uncommon in wrestling to find brothers laboring for the same team. Since Cain tangled with Abel, squabbling siblings have made the journey from back-yard brawls to varsity competition a well-traveled trail.
A glance at the roster of defending Metro Conference champion Good Counsel reveals three Millers; senior Mike at 167-pounds, junior Steve at 126 and Ricky, a freshman, at 105.
The man who has mined this lode of wrestling talent is Falcon coach Pat Bates, who has tutored Millers since Mike was a freshman starter.
Bates sees no drawbacks to the clan contributions. "It fosters a certain amount of competition among them," he claimed. "But they all have a fine perspective on things, which comes from their parents.
"Negative aspects? Well, I guess their mother has to do three sets of laundry every day, but, from a team standpoint, there are none. It's a fine, positive thing."
The results also have been fine and positive. Mike, who posted an impressive 14-4 mark a year ago, is unbeaten in dual matches this season and has picked up second-place honors in the Maryland Catholic tournament at Towson and the Oxon Hill Christmas tournament. Steven is 9-5 overall and Ricky is 11-5.
They share a name but the brothers are distinct in wrestling styles. "Mike is a high-achiever who has dedicated himself to school and sports," said Bates. "Steve is almost an opposite in personality on the mat. Mike relies on strength and aggressiveness. Steve uses finesse and technique. Ricky is rather business like. He's a fine blend of the other two styles."
All the Millers started wrestling at the Rockville Boy's Club, in the Beltway League. It wasn't Mike's first choice. The eldest Miller (there is also Debbie in seventh grade, Brian in fifth and Doug in kindergarten) "went out for the basketball team but I got cut." Mike remembered. "I talked it over with my dad and he suggested I try wrestling. It was mostly something to do in the winter after the football season.
"Our parents have been all for it (wrestling), as long as our grades stay up. That's the only rule. Nobody forced the sport on us. My dad always says, if it reaches a point where you don't enjoy it, get out. I enjoy it even more that way."
Keeping grades up has not been a problem. Mike, who has earned all As, is president of the school's National Honor Society. Steve collects As and Bs and Ricky brought home a perfect report card after his first high school semester.
Because of the success of his elders, Ricky walked into a pressure situation this year, with its plusses and minusses.
"I lost my first couple of matches and I heard about it at school, 'Both your brothers won, what happened to you?"
"There is some competition among us," said Steve. "When you do badly, your brothers give you junk about it. We're all trying for the best record."
"They both have the potential to be better than I am," said Mike. "And they both wrestle before me every match so if they win . . . well, it's not nice to lose.
"But when one of us loses we get together and go over the match step by step. It's also nice to have somebody to run and workout with."
"It can become hectic around the sometimes, particularly if they're watching their weight before a match," said their mother. "I have to be very careful in what I cook."
Don Miller and his wife try to attend all matches. "When they first started, I didn't know anything about wrestling and I worried about them getting hurt," said Mrs. Miller. "Even now. I'm a nervous wreck at matches. It's bad enough having to watch one son wrestle. But when he's finished, I still have two more to go. At the end of the meet, I'm pretty well worn out."
The other major sport for the Miller brothers is football. Mike, a co-captain in wrestling was a footbal tri-captain, earning all-conference honors as a 170-pound middle linebacker.
Steve was a reserve defensive back and Ricky lettered as a starting safety on the freshman team.
If wrestling brothers are noted for one thing, it is practicing takedown techniques in the living room, upsetting lamps, ashtrays, pets and parents. Mike denies such infighting takes place at the Miller home.
"We don't have the room or the time to go at it in the house . . . well, we did have to replace the living room rug," he admitted. "I guess we kind of wore it out."