Whenever Mike Sinclair drives by the old house in Burnaby, B.C., he can't help but marvel at the fact it's still standing.
"It took a beating," Sinclair says with a laugh. "I don't know how it's still upright. But I guess that's what you get when you get two really competitive kids around the same age."
Those two kids were Mike and younger sister Christine, who would leave countless broken windows and scuffed walls in her wake en route to becoming Canada's finest women's soccer player.
"Oh God, our windows, our next-door neighbours' windows, the windows of our neighbours two houses down," he said. "We've broken more things..."
The concrete basement floor of their three-bedroom house provided the perfect venue for everything from roller-hockey to golf to soccer.
"Lights, windows, doors. . . anything and everything imaginable got broken," Mike said.
Fast forward a couple of decades and Christine Sinclair's aim has definitely improved. The 29-year-old is Canada's leading goal-scorer and has the third-most international goals in women's soccer history, trailing Americans Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.
She'll lead a squad that will be playing for a medal on sport's grandest stage — the No. 7 Canadians will open the London Olympic Games against third-ranked Japan on July 25.
The Sinclair home was always a hub of sports activities. Dad Bill coached Mike's soccer team, mom Sandra coached Christine's.
Both kids were natural athletes and gifted at several sports. Sinclair's first love was baseball, and she still wears No. 12 on the soccer pitch in honour of her favourite baseball player Roberto Alomar. She met the former Blue Jays star second baseman at a game recently in Toronto. He suggested they exchange jerseys.
When the Sinclairs weren't playing organized sports, they were chasing after each other on the street or playground. Christine was determined to hold her own against Mike and his friends.
"In our neighbourhood, we were always playing soccer, baseball, football, and she was always right in the middle of it," said Mike, the older sibling by three years. "She was a lot smaller, but she definitely wasn't going to get kicked around. It toughened her up at a young age."
Canadians saw that toughness splayed across Sinclair's face last summer, when the striker scored on a beautiful bending free kick against Germany at the women's World Cup moments after her nose was shattered so badly that goalkeeper Erin McLeod said it looked "like a zigzag."
Her goal was the lone bright spot at an otherwise disastrous World Cup that saw the Canadians knocked out after the preliminary round without a win.
But Sinclair said spirits are high heading into London. The team hired Englishman John Herdman as head coach in the fall and went on to beat Brazil to win the Pan American Games in October.
Four years ago at the Beijing Olympics, the Canadians finished eighth, losing to eventual champion United States 2-1 in the quarter-finals.
With 12 returnees from that Olympic team, Sinclair said Canada will field a squad that is wiser from its experiences in China.
"It was the first time our soccer team had qualified, and none of us had been there before and we were all inexperienced," Sinclair said. "The Olympics can be overwhelming, but now that there's a core group of us who have been there before, we can sort of help the younger players know what to expect that we didn't know four years ago."
Such as not wasting energy chasing after superstar athletes.
"I remember our team four years ago trying to get pictures with people during times when normally in camp you'd be resting, laying in bed watching TV. But instead people were out stalking Lionel Messi and things like that. That needs to change."
The Canadians have worked on rebuilding confidence since their World Cup debacle, hiring New Zealander Ceri Evans — who worked with the All Blacks the year they won the rugby World Cup — as a mental trainer.
"Ceri's been great, he's worked with most of the players on the team, just to help the team cope with the pressures of being in a big game, dealing with the ebbs and flows in the game, if things happen to not be going our way, how can we snap out of it," Sinclair said.
The team spent the past few months based in Vancouver, with training scheduled in three-week blocks with a week away in between to train at home. The Canadians spent several months before the World Cup in Rome, a grind that had players counting the days until they could go home.
"Players were ready to go home. . . that is not what your mindset should be at a World Cup or an Olympics," Sinclair said.
Mike was just happy to see more of his baby sister, who'd been living in Rochester, N.Y., and playing for the Western New York Flash before the Women's Professional Soccer league folded this year.
When Canada defeated Mexico to book its Olympic berth in Vancouver in January, Mike passed his two-year-old daughter Kaitlyn down to Sinclair on the pitch of B.C. Place Stadium.
He scoffs at people who have asked him if he's jealous of his sister's success.
"There's no reason why I would be," he said. "She has put way more time into the game than anybody I know. There's a lot of people who have the talent but don't have the motivation.
"And the way she approaches practice and games, the way she's a leader around other players. . . I'm extremely, extremely proud."