A sense of family doesn’t need to be forced upon members of the Franklin boys tennis program — it’s already been built in for years.
Head coach Rod Snyder has had a son on the varsity roster in eight of his 15 seasons. Senior Logan Snyder presently carries on the family name as the team’s No. 2 singles player.
Meanwhile, at No. 1 singles is senior Jonah Rockey, older brother of junior Josiah Rockey, the Grizzly Cubs’ No. 3 singles player. Two Klems are on the roster as well — No. 2 doubles participant Ethan Klem and his brother Jackson Klem, who has played four matches at No. 3 singles this season.
There were three Rockey brothers playing varsity the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The oldest, Jacob, graduated in the spring and is now a freshman at Purdue University.
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“It’s definitely beneficial,” Jonah Rockey said. “With family, you can practice with them a lot. Josiah and I will hit around on the weekends, and I’m sure Logan practices with his dad.”
The common bloodlines aren’t the only reason that this year’s Grizzly Cubs are so close with one another, though.
Six of Franklin’s seven starters are seniors who have been growing their games together since the sixth grade. Josiah Rockey, a year younger, was always included in whatever serving and volleying was taking place.
“Tennis is an individual sport, but as a team it brings us closer. We all think of each other as brothers anyway,” Logan Snyder said. “We’re a tight-knit group of friends. Any of us could play doubles together and click well.”
Logan Snyder is the youngest of three siblings who played tennis at Franklin.
His brother, Luke, played No. 2 doubles for the Grizzly Cubs as a sophomore and No. 1 doubles his final two seasons before graduating in 2010. Their sister, Natalie, a 2008 graduate, played for the girls program.
Coach Snyder practiced with his daughter regularly, but he wasn’t the Cubs’ girls coach. While coaching his sons, he’s attempted to enjoy the process — which hasn’t always been easy for him.
While still trying to develop a winning culture early in his tenure, coach Snyder said he savored victories more and took losses harder than he does today. He was still very much able to savor the wins in 2016, when the program captured its first sectional and regional titles before dropping a 4-1 decision to Park Tudor at semistate.
“I felt like my identity as a coach was based on wins and losses. Now I base it on the improvement of the player and having kids who love to compete,” coach Snyder said. “There are times I think I could have coached Luke a little differently, but you never know.
“I do think I coach Logan differently and the entire team differently.”
Coach Snyder, a 1983 graduate of Logansport High School, played tennis for the Berries. As an adult, he introduced his children to the sport.
It’s a tennis household, which is just fine with Logan.
“It’s a lot of talking tennis, even at home,” he said. “But I enjoy it a lot. I feel I’m closer to the sport because my dad is the coach.”