OKEENE — Mike Dobrinski used to joke about how great it would be to announce his kids' names during an Okeene football game.
“Dobrinski gets a good block and Dobrinski throws to Dobrinski for the touchdown,” rushed through his head.
That joke is now reality for the Whippets' public address announcer.
Friday nights in the small farming community have become a big night for the Dobrinski clan.
Mike and Ginny Dobrinski were already prominent members of the community, but then Ginny gave birth to a set of quadruplets — three boys and one girl — in 1995.
Their lives were forever changed.
“It is a short window of opportunity,” Mike said. “You don't want to miss anything.
“I'm like every other parent. The only difference is four of them are mine, so most of the time I'm nominated to carry the ball and my wife is (a teacher) at school there in the middle of everything they're doing. It's a lot of fun and it's almost over.”
The three brothers — Scott, Mikey and Jamie — all start and play both sides of the football for the No. 7-ranked Whippets, who host Oklahoma Bible on Thursday, while Shelby is a cheerleader at each game.
Each looks different and acts different, but when it's football time they are one.
“(On) the football field, there's always us,” Jamie said. “We can stick together and all of that stuff. It's just cool to know that we're a big part of the town.”
The quadruplets comprise nearly one-sixth of the senior class and more than one-third of the seniors on the football team.
So it was no surprise when Scott and Shelby were named Homecoming king and queen two weeks ago.
There was just that awkward issue of the traditional kiss, which resulted in a special handshake and kiss on the forehead.
“I didn't know what to do,” Scott said. “I was supposedly a kissing captain. There was no way I was going to kiss her, but my mom kind of talked me into giving her a kiss on the cheek. I was just like, ‘The forehead is good.'”
The family has become the epicenter of Okeene, with its five-bedroom house rarely empty — and not just because of the family. There always seems to be someone there visiting.
Mike also has a prominent role in the community as the owner of a car dealership, member of the Pioneer Telephone Co-Op board of directors and a church youth director. Ginny is also the speech and drama teacher at the high school.
But nothing is as unique as the situation at football games.
“They just each have their own personality and you treat them that way,” longtime Okeene coach Jeff Wardlaw said. “It's special in that they can be together, play together and be a part of a team together every year.”
Scott, at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, is the Whippets' quarterback and free safety who has accounted for 14 touchdowns this season.
Mikey, as he put it, is the tall, lanky one at 6-foot-2, 160 pounds. He's caught 14 passes for 101 yards and made 20 tackles at cornerback.
Jamie, though, is the lineman of the clan, coming in at 6-foot, 225 pounds. He even protects the blind side of Scott.
“He makes me mad, I get him hit,” Jamie joked. “I won't do that, that's just how I threaten him sometimes when I want him to make me a sandwich or something.”
There are only two sets of quadruplets in the state, but to the Dobrinskis it's just the norm.
Each one, though, has found individuality and will get to explore that even more when they all attend Oklahoma State together next year.
“Since we have been pushed together as a group since we were born, we all had to find our little niche,” said Shelby, who competes in pageants. “That's why we're all so different, because the fact if we weren't we'd lose our individuality.”
And each was essentially an individual from the beginning.
The quadruplets are a product of Mike and Ginny trying for seven long years to have a baby. Eventually, they turned to an assisted reproductive procedure known as gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT).
Ginny said she was told the success rate at the time was 1 in 30,000. She had four eggs placed and the odds were 1 in 700,000 that all four would take.
She sometimes thought early in their relationship at OSU that she one day wanted twins.
Sometimes the odds are just in your favor.
“Since then we decided that we should have bought a lottery ticket on that day too since we beat the odds on that one,” Ginny joked.