“Almost Like a Song,” New Era, May 1989, 28
There are a few things in life that just seem to go together. You know what I’m talking about—two things that seem to have been made in pairs, like thunder and lightning, seminary and scripture chase, or missionaries and “Dear Johns.”
Besides these well-known examples, there’s another great combination that you might not recognize. Scott and Steve Shreeve, brothers from Clovis, California, go together as naturally as the melody and harmony of your favorite song.
Scott, 18, and Steve, 17, are not only brothers; they are great friends as well. And each is valuable in his own way, just as a melody and a harmony can each stand alone. But together they create a song that is inspiring, as well as fun, to hear.
The best place to see these two in action together is on the football field, where they form a team within the team. Scott is the quarterback, and Steve is a receiver. And when two young men who are as close as Steve and Scott play those positions, they’re practically unbeatable.
After all, as Scott says, “We’ve been playing catch together for a lot of years. There is something different when I’m playing with Steve, because I know what he’s going to do,” says Scott.
Steve agrees. “I can kind of tell what Scott’s going to do on the field. Other people will think he’s going to follow the play, but I know he’s up to something.”
The legendary Shreeve-to-Shreeve Connection started when they were in elementary school, as soon as they were old enough to play organized football. “In one game they used a flea-flicker play where they passed the football back and forth to make the touchdown,” says their father and bishop, Sid Shreeve. “After the game, the coach from the other team got on the bus and said, ‘I want to see those Shreeve guys of that Shreeve Connection!’”
That teamwork carried into high school where the brothers connected with each other and the rest of the team regularly en route to the Central California Section Championship (for large high schools) during Scott’s senior year and Steve’s junior year of high school. All through the summer before the season, the brothers worked together to orchestrate a season that would make their team a favorite for the championship.
A win in the championship game was especially important to Scott, because sports are of great interest to him. With his last high school football season coming up, he knew he had to prepare himself.
“I’m totally goal oriented,” he says, holding up a note card with a list of goals he set at the start of the year. The list is a mix between football, basketball, academic, and spiritual goals, and nearly every one of them has been checked off as completed. “I knew what my goals were, and as the season went along I kept getting closer and closer. I had no idea all this was going to happen to me, but I worked hard for it.”
Steve appreciates Scott’s hard work on the field, especially because it provides incentive. “Scott’s always working hard, so you can count on him to keep the team going,” says Steve. “Some quarterbacks are kind of lazy, but Scott’s always out in front in conditioning drills, so I try to keep up, kind of race him.”
Besides football, Scott works hard to stay out in front in other areas of his life too. He made a goal to read for half an hour a night and has read A Marvelous Workand a Wonder, Jesus the Christ, and The Articles of Faith, as well as the scriptures.
“No matter how tired he is,” says his mother, Sharon, “he will always read his scriptures. Sometimes I’ll be going to bed late and I’ll see the light on in his room and I’ll find him kneeling at his bed, reading his scriptures.”
He also plays basketball and other school sports, as well as maintaining excellent grades. To Scott, education is a priority, and his 3.9 GPA is proof that he is willing to work for that goal.
“You just have to keep your priorities set and remember that school is more important than sports,” he said in a TV interview after a basketball game.
Steve’s interest is focused on computers. He taught himself to use and program a computer when he was eight, when his father brought home a personal computer.
Curiosity and a desire for knowledge have been Steve’s hallmarks ever since he was a child. Although he may not be quite the organized goal setter that Scott is (their mom calls Steve the “other half of the ‘Odd Couple’”), he is just as interested in succeeding. And it is curiosity that drives Steve, instead of the lists that motivate his brother Scott. That curiosity is one of the things that make him special; it is his personal harmony that can reinforce the melody yet still sound intriguing on its own.
Steve’s father remembers a time when an older sister was taking care of young Steve. “She said, ‘Dad, Dad, come here quick! Listen to him: all he says is Why!’ He’s been like that ever since. He loves an explanation of what and why things are,” says Brother Shreeve.
In order to find out why, Steve has made it a practice since he was small to read a lot and to watch educational television. He believes there is always a better way to do something, and he loves the challenge of figuring out that better way. His natural curiosity has helped him excel in school, and his parents tease him about being the “brain” in the family.
He kept finding out more about his computer until he became experienced enough to talk to people all over the world under his computer name Condor. When he was 13, his parents gave him a modem for his birthday, and Steve promptly contacted computer facilities all over the United States.
“I didn’t know and I talked to some people for half an hour,” Steve laughs. But the grin fades as he recalls working off a $549 phone bill, while the modem remained in his parents’ custody for a while.
Now as a high school student, Steve has gone beyond playing with modems and is looking into computers as a career. “I want to be involved in computers and medicine, like CAT scans and other electronic applications in medicine,” he says. With a vision of the future in his mind, he describes a hospital machine that would do everything by computer. He thinks it could analyze any information put into it, like breath, blood, tissue, and hair, and then provide a diagnosis and even prescribe the necessary medication from the analyzed data. It would be a better way to do something—and that’s just the kind of challenge Steve loves.
And what about football? Although he has had a lot of success playing in high school, Steve isn’t quite as driven to play in college—at least at this point. For now, he will leave that to Scott.
Scott has an academic scholarship to BYU because of his outstanding grades, but football was a big why he chose Provo. He was contacted by at least 30 different schools concerning football or basketball and finally chose BYU football, both for its facilities and its coaching staff, as well as the fact that he will be a third-generation BYU student.
He will go from being a star quarterback to a lowly freshman player, but Scott says he won’t mind. “It’s kind of fun in the limelight, but it’ll be good not to have so much pressure for a while.”
The pressure is definitely off when Steve and Scott are having fun together. They’re just regular friends who happen to be related. They play video games, shoot hoops, double-date, and generally enjoy being together.
“I think I’ll miss just hanging out with Scott the most,” says Steve. “He’s my brother. We do everything together,” says Scott simply. And even though Scott is leaving home for college, there are a few things that will always remind them of how well they complement each other.
One of those things is their memories of their family, of minivacations together at the beach, of family home evenings, and of chores every morning in the summer. They always supported each other in activities—no matter who was participating. Their close family unit made both success and friendship easier.
“We’ve always just been a real busy family,” says Sister Shreeve. “Whoever’s night it was, whatever they were doing, we’d all be there. We really were at all the kids’ games, but it wasn’t just sports. It was academics, science fairs, Church events; we’ve always been there for things like that.”
The brothers also have something else in common, something that has helped them stay close to each other and their family. It is the gospel, and both Scott and Steve see it as something special in their lives. They report that everyone in their high school knows who the LDS students are, and the group is proud of its reputation.
“When I first started going to high school, the people in my ward were my friends, but we really didn’t hang around together very much,” says Scott. “The older we got, when other people started getting into things we weren’t interested in, it just kind of came together. Now this year we totally do everything together. Everyone knows us as the Mormons. They always tease us and joke around, but I know they respect us. I think if any one of us tried to drink or smoke or something, they’d say something to us like, ‘No, don’t do that.’ I think the seeds for later on have been planted,” he says. “I know they’re going to remember who the Mormons are.”
Steve agrees. “Everybody at school knows we’re Mormon, everybody. They know you’re different, and if somebody’s cussing they’ll say, ‘Shhh! It’s the Shreeves!’ It’s pretty cool! That’s why the Church is important to me—because it teaches you to do things that are right, even though they’re different.”
Family life, along with the support they got from each other, made a big difference in knowing the Church is true. But Steve and Scott have found things about the gospel that struck individual chords for them, too. It’s a song of inspiration they plan to share with others when they serve as full-time missionaries.
For Steve, the perpetual why?-asker, the gospel makes sense intellectually, and it appeals to his desire to be an individual. “Stand up for what you believe in; that’s what I say. If someone tries to make fun of me, I just keep asking why they think drinking is cool. They get to where they don’t have anything to say,” Steve says. “Drinking is dumb—why even do it?”
Scott has found great faith in the Church’s teachings about high aspirations and having a direction in life. “The older I got, the more I learned about the Church, and the more it made sense. Just by looking at the people, I knew it was right. Many Mormon kids have a direction and know where they’re going and what they’re doing. Lots of other guys are just meandering around. I’ve never had a lightning bolt kind of revelation or anything about the Church; it’s always been sort of a gradual process. I feel like it’s really right,” he says.
“Really right” might describe a great deal about the lives of these two brothers. Their relationship with the Church is right. The development of their individual personalities is right. And their relationships, both with each other and with the rest of their family, are also right. You could say they are great alone, and great together. Like two lines of music that solo and then form a duet, they are almost like a song.
Editor’s note: Since this story was written, Scott Shreeve has been called to the Georgia Atlanta Mission. Steve continues his athletic and academic pursuits, and recently scored better than 99 percent on his ACT (college entrance) exam.