Jarboe signs with Franklin TennisApril 21, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
FERDINAND — Tennis wasn’t always on Nathan Jarboe’s radar, but from sixth grade on, it's been the sport that he loves.
“I was playing football, and I decided, ‘I don’t like taking people to the ground — that’s not my kind of thing,'” Jarboe said.
He told himself that if he didn’t like tennis that he would stick with football, but he fell in love with the sport. Jarboe noted that it’s a mental sport, and he believes he has a great mental attitude.
He’s had an accomplished career at Forest Park — he was a Pocket Athletic Conference honorable mention as a sophomore and made it onto the All-PAC Team his junior and senior years. He played in the individual sectional as a senior and won more than 60 matches in high school. Yet, Jarboe had a decision to make before he signed his letter of intent Wednesday morning to play tennis at Franklin College.
“'Should I go to Franklin and play tennis, or should I go to Indiana University Southeast and just do academics?’” he thought. "And, I decided that tennis is kind of my rock. It’s what I strive in — what I love, what I put myself to do, and college is a big change in life. And having that rock beside you as in tennis is what I needed in my future.”
Jarboe started out playing Three Singles his freshman year at Forest Park, and Rangers boys tennis coach Dean Blessinger soon saw after Jarboe’s freshman year that him signing to play somewhere could happen — if he wanted it. Blessinger told the Herald on Wednesday that winning a Three Singles varsity tennis match isn't as easy as one might think, and while Jarboe had the talent to win — he had to figure out mentally how to win. He later ascended to Forest Park’s One Singles spot.
Blessinger wished that somebody from Franklin would’ve been able to attend the signing to tell them what they’re getting.
“There’s probably never a sure thing, but in my opinion, Nathan comes as close to being a sure recruit from these standpoints — he’s going to go to class, he’s going to do well in the classroom, he’s going to come to practice every day and work hard,” Blessinger said. “He hasn’t played his best tennis yet — he’s going to get better. And so, that’s why I say they’re getting a gem here, in my opinion.”
Jarboe noted that tennis involves a lot of strategy and also reading people — which is also true for the medical field, as he intends to study neuroscience while at Franklin.
He’s currently finishing his senior year by helping out the girls tennis team that began this season with a 7-0 record, and he’s also looking forward to getting into Franklin’s facilities and working. Jarboe will mainly continue as a singles player, but also play doubles, if necessary, since playing both a singles match and doubles match is permitted in college.
“I love practicing — and I love hitting the ball and winning,” Jarboe said. “The only way that you can win is through good practice and hard practice, and that’s what I want to do.”
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