The Last Ride: Ruvo Triplets Get Ready for Final Shared Milestone
“My whole life, I’ve had these two built-in best friends with me, so being out there in the world without them is going to be really different,” said Ben Ruvo, on how it feels to be approaching graduation, the last shared milestone with his siblings.
On May 22, triplets Max, Ben and Holly Ruvo will embark on their last joint adventure before going their separate ways for the very first time in 22 years. All three are graduating from Washington College, after which their paths will finally diverge with Max starting a job in finance, Ben heading to law school and Holly returning home to NJ to start a career in sports media.
Max and Ben, who are identical twins within the triplets, have never lived apart. The pair were even delivered simultaneously, though Max is listed as the oldest on their birth certificates. They shared a bedroom until they were 10, went to the same school from K-12, and then chose to attend Washington College together, where they also lived together for the past four years. They even play Varsity baseball together, with Ben in centerfield and Max in left field.
Holly, born two minutes after Max and Ben, has taken a slightly different path than her brothers, although the biggest one – college – turned out to be only a detour. She did attend an all-girls’ high school near their hometown of North Caldwell, NJ, but at that point they all still lived at home together and still saw each other daily, coming together over family dinners nearly every night. The first significant change for her was college, as she didn’t enroll in Washington College but instead followed her passion for track and field and attended a different institution.
When that turned out not to be the right fit, Holly looked again at one of her other top choices: Washington College. She’d been hearing about the great experience her brothers were having and realized that she wanted something similar for herself, so she transferred at the start of her sophomore year. “It really was the best decision for my growth as a person, and as a bonus, it gave me a few extra years with Max and Ben,” she said.
While she had done her best to stay tuned into what was happening in their lives when they were apart – she recounts recalls pulling up the livestream of their baseball games her freshman year and watching them play while waiting for her own race to start – she now sees that she wasn’t quite prepared for what that distance felt like.
“Growing up at home, there really isn’t a choice to separate or stay together, but with college we had that choice,” she said. “Maybe my freshman year college experience just wasn’t a fit for me, but I think it was just never home,” she said, “because home will always be all of us together.”
“We chose to stay together, to have these few extra years, and I think that says a lot,” she added.
Built-In Best Friends
They often get asked what it’s like to be triplets, and the answer is usually along the lines of “what’s it like not to be triplets?” Having built-in best friends who are going through the same thing at the exact same time is all they’ve ever known.
They see the benefits of always having each other to turn to for support. “I think my favorite part about having all three of us being the same age is going through all the same life experiences together,” said Max. “A lot of people have siblings, but the bond you have of being the exact same age as two other siblings is unique.”
The best part for all three of them is how close they are and how much they genuinely like each other.
They generally have the same friend group, have taken some of the same classes, and are all part of the baseball team together with Max and Ben in the outfield, and Holly documenting it all from the sideline in her role as Digital Media Director for the team. Tapping in their shared competitive nature, Max and Ben have also found benefit in pushing each other during workouts – particularly in the off-season when they consider themselves accountability partners – and also enjoy movies and video games together in any downtime they can manage to find.
Their friendship was certainly a factor for Max and Ben in deciding where to attend college. Baseball players all their lives, they decided pretty early on that they wanted to go to school and continue to compete together. When a college coach would approach one twin, the other was quick to say, “wait for my brother,” signaling that they were making that decision as a team. According to Max, they didn’t necessarily set out to have to go to college together, but “in the back of our minds I think we just always knew that was how it would end up.”
When asked if they ever have disagreements, the only examples they could cite included Max or Ben eating food from the fridge that Holly was saving, or an argument about the Knicks or the Giants. And while they can’t read each other’s minds, they will sometimes be thinking of a song only to find that one of the other two siblings is singing it.
As the only girl in the family, Holly says her brothers have always been protective of her and while some might see that as a negative, it suits her just fine. It was especially helpful when she was acclimating to a new college campus. “They never let me each lunch alone,” she said. “They introduced me to all of their friends and would check in on me throughout the day, ever day. They even made sure that their teammates had eyes on me, never letting me walk alone, that kind of thing.”
Her brothers’ red carpet treatment aside, it didn’t take Holly long to develop her own identity at Washington College. She has even found her professional calling, as she intends to pursue a career in sports media and has already hit the ground running with the founding of Holly Ruvo Media. It was just another bonus that her personal passion for photo, video and creating social media content for the College’s varsity teams meant sharing the same schedule with her siblings.
Being a part of the baseball team family and enjoying this new perspective on the game has even helped Holly to see a new side of her brothers. “I always knew it, but documenting this season has emphasized to me that Max and Ben have a great amount of mental toughness and grit, and a passion for life and for chasing after their goals,” she said. “It makes me really proud to be their sister.”
That closeness and their enjoyment of these shared experiences makes the close of this chapter understandably bittersweet. From here on out, those milestones – engagements, marriages, first homes, children – will occur on different timelines, perhaps in different places.
“My whole life, I’ve had these two built-in best friends with me, so being out there in the world without them is going to be really different,” said Ben.
“All the firsts are all the lasts”
For parents Michael and Helen Ruvo, it’s been an intense 22 years. The high school sweethearts who went to prom together and chose to raise their own family in Michael’s hometown, also find it hard to believe that it’s really almost over.
“Raising triplets is intense,” said Michael. “Everything happens at once. All the firsts and all the lasts happen at the same time. It’s like having an only child in some ways, but times three.”
Max, Ben and Holly recognize this unique family dynamic as well.
“Everything is emphasized because there’s three of us,” said Holly. “It does make everything we do kind of a big deal to our whole family because all three of us are doing it. We might be doing it in different ways, but it’s all starting and ending together.”
Getting their driver’s licenses was just one more example of this. “That day, we were all waiting to see if we had passed and thankfully we did or that would have been a weird day!” said Max. “But going through the first day of school together, or the first day of college, we’re all nervous but at least we had each other.”
Helen Ruvo, mother, is quick to point out that their personalities in the womb are really similar to their personalities today. “They were named A, B and C. A and B were the boys and C was Holly. A and B were always doing summersaults and C was really quiet,” she said. “To this day, the boys eat and have to move to burn off energy, while Holly will watch and smile. Their traits from in utero have stayed true for 22 years now.”
A typically proud mother, Helen is most proud of the fact that they chose to stay together and even now are indicating that they intend for it to always be that way. “We never forced this, it’s always been their decision,” she said. “People would often ask, ‘Is that a good idea?’ And then it was ‘oh, okay they’re roommates too?’ But they’re together in life because they want to be. They’re siblings by nature, but friends by choice.”
The Next Phase
What they will miss most after they graduate and move on separately to this next phase of life is pretty simple – each other.
But there is little doubt in any of their minds that they will remain connected, and that ultimately they will settle down somewhere near each other. “I can’t really see us ever being in two different parts of the world or anything like that,” said Max. “Maybe we’ll even get one big house and live together with our families one day,” he joked.
“I know that wherever we’ll be, maybe in 10 years, we’ll be sitting at someone’s dinner table talking about whatever we’re going through at the same, if it’s the same or different and it will probably feel just the same as it does right now,” added Holly.
College life is busy for all of them and even on this small campus, they point out they don’t see each other all day long. Therefore, their conscious efforts to stay connected even when they aren’t together in person have become second nature for them, something they expect to continue. That’s what their group chats and FaceTime calls are for.
According to Holly, her brothers being on the phone together is a regular occurrence, whether that’s during the short ride to campus from their off-campus housing or driving back and forth to New Jersey. “They just can’t not talk to each other for those three hours,” she laughed.
As they approach graduation and that last shared walk across the stage, all three of them appreciate the fact that their mutual journey has lasted this long, expressing over and over what a unique and positive experience it has been. “We have been as close as siblings could be growing up,” said Max. “We’ve been able to support each other all throughout school and now we can end that journey at the same college. It’s going to be a special moment.”
“This is kind of like the last ride,” said Ben. “But we’ve been lucky. I’m pretty sure 99.9% of people can’t say that they not only played ball with their brother growing up but then also in college. And having Holly on the side doing all the pictures and media has been a really cool experience this year.”
“Thinking about the next chapter is a little sad, but we’re all so close. I know we’ll find a way to stay that way,” added Max.
“Looking over my academic experience, it only seems right that we graduate together,” said Holly. “I couldn't imagine it any other way.”