Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: With three kids playing for Wakeland, Swanner family full of rivalry and competition
Family has to split up for games with two teams still playing
Coin flips sometimes determine playoff seeds, who gets home-field advantage and whether a playoff matchup will be one game or a best-of-3. But for the parents of Joey, Justin and Jordan Swanner, it’s sometimes how they choose which game to attend.
“There’s always a conflict,” Joe Swanner Sr. said. “Always.”
The conflict continues this week, because the Frisco Wakeland baseball and softball teams are both still in the playoffs. Joey and Justin’s baseball team begins a best-of-3 series against Highland Park on Thursday, and Jordan’s softball team begins a series against Forney.
The softball game is at Plano West, and the baseball game is at Hebron. It’s tough for the parents, who’ll be calling and texting each other with updates. But it’s also tough for the kids.
“I want to be at every one of Jordan’s games, and she wants to be at our games,” said Joey, a senior center fielder and third baseman. “But at this level, that’s just the way it is.”
All three of the Swanner siblings play at a high level. Joey, who has signed with UNLV, is one of the leaders for Wakeland (33-4). He’s hitting .431 with five home runs, 38 RBIs and a team-high 19 stolen bases. Justin, a junior second baseman, is hitting .380 with three home runs and 31 RBIs. Jordan is a freshman first baseman who hits .368 for the softball team that is 33-3.
Joey started playing when he 7 years old and Justin when he was 6, but Jordan didn’t start softball until she was 9.
“She wanted to be a cheerleader,” her dad said, “and went through the whole ‘I want to be a girl’ thing.”
It’s no surprise that she eventually exchanged the pompoms for a glove and bat. Joey and Justin take baseball seriously, and their sibling rivalry is pretty intense. When Justin’s batting average bumped above Joey’s for a few days this season, it created quite a stir in the house.
“That week was fun,” Justin said.
Not so much for Joey.
“The competition between teenagers is one thing,” he said, “but the competition between brothers is another.”
It can be intense. It’s definitely a love-hate relationship, Justin said.
“We’ve always been at each other’s throats,” he said. “He’s a leader on the team and demands respect, but being his brother, it’s hard sometimes not to want to talk back to him.”
But they do root for each other, Joey said. And together they root for Jordan, even when they can’t get to games. When the baseball game is over, Justin said, the first thing he does is call or text the parent who is at Jordan’s game.
“Then we’ll stay up talking until like 11,” Jordan said. “There’s always a lot to talk about.”