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All in the family

By Curtis Carden
Sports Writer
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It’s a family affair when it comes to sports in the Rice household.
Parents Ted and Kelly Rice played sports during high school and their three children have successfully followed in the footsteps of their parents.
The oldest of the three children, Logan, is a 2010 graduate of Unicoi County High School and a current member of the East Tennessee State University Buccaneer baseball team coached by Tony Skoale.
Even with the relief pitcher bringing the heat on the mound, Logan played more than baseball growing up.
“My Dad and Mom got me started in sports when I was little,” Logan said. “My Dad got me started in baseball, he bought me a glove and we started throwing … it just took off from there.
“Mom got me started in basketball by just playing backyard basketball and teaching me to shoot and make layups. I got myself started in football playing with my neighbors and just decided I wanted to play. I played all three sports when I was younger, but just baseball in high school … Baseball is by far my favorite.”
Baseball stays close in the family for Logan’s younger brother, Ethan, who will be a junior at UCHS when school begins next month.
“Dad got me into baseball shortly after he and Logan started,” Ethan said. “My mom played basketball in high school, so she’s the one that got Logan, Hannah and myself into it. Whether it is baseball or basketball, both my parents are always pushing me to get better, to work harder, and to have the desire to win no matter what.”
When it comes to a favorite sport, it’s a deadlock, said Ethan.
“As far as my favorite sport I can't really choose between the two,” he added. “Baseball and basketball are two different paces of games, but I really love each aspects of both sports.
With the two brothers having in success at the same, there is a friendly rivalry between the two.
“Being brothers, there’s always that friendly rivalry,” Logan said. “He tells me what he did or has done and I always have to come back with something better that I did because I don't want him to think he is better than I was. But he is going to be a junior and I have already graduated and have four years of stories and accomplishments to choose from and he only has two.
“He is going to be a lot better than I was if he keeps progressing and I really hope he is better than I was. It’s because he has always had an older brother to look up to and compete with and I’m happy to be a part of my brother’s success and part of him being better than me, which I really hope he is”
Ethan had the same sentiments as Logan when discussing the back and forth between the two.
“There’s always been a friendly rivalry between Logan and me,” he explained. “We have always been around sports and have always tried to outdo one another. Anytime I do something good I can't wait to tell Logan, because when Logan tells me good job it means more to me than when anyone else does. Whenever I do bad, Logan is one of the first ones there explaining to me what I am doing wrong.
“Logan has taught me a lot over the years. Besides being a very talented athlete, he works harder and has to finish before anyone else no matter what he is doing. Seeing how hard he works and his desire to win motivates me to follow in his footsteps.”
While the Rice brothers have shown their expertise on the diamond, they’ve been a big help, along with their parents, helping their younger sister, Hannah, develop into a solid basketball player.
“Both of my brothers were playing so I wanted to,” Hannah explained about getting into the sport of basketball. “So, my Dad and Mom started working with me in basketball and as soon as I started I fell in love with the game. I realized I was pretty good at it so I kept working.
My brothers always encouraged me too. Ethan and I would go outside and play one-on-one all the time. So really my whole family has had part in helping me get started in sports.”
Hannah, an upcoming freshman at UCHS, follows in the sibling rivalry by taking on her brothers on the court.
“I have always tried beating my brothers at basketball,” she explained. “But if we’re playing and they see me do something wrong they'll help me and sometimes Ethan will show me some of his moves. They're always finding ways to make me better.”
Even with the competitiveness between them, Hannah had nothing but great things to say about her brothers.
“They are both great at sports and have a desire to win,” Hannah said. “Logan, he's the toughest guy I know. He works harder than everybody everyday. Ethan, things comes so natural to. His basketball skills are amazing as well as baseball; he never quits.
“Although there is some sibling rivalry between my brothers and me, I am very proud of both of my brothers’ accomplishments. In high school basketball, I expect to work harder and get better.”
For Ethan, one word comes to mind for his brother and sister.
“The one word to describe Hannah and Logan is – tough,” Ethan said. “Logan and myself have always been hard on her. Growing up with two older brothers she has been able to watch and learn from us.
“Hannah is always trying to get better. She runs, works out, and shoots just about everyday. She is always asking me to play her one-on-one or show her one of my moves. When Hannah is on the court she always gives 110 percent and wants the ball in her hands. Based on her work ethic, desire to win, and how good she did in middle school, I think she will be a big contributor to the basketball team all four years.”
As it goes for the oldest of the three, Logan had some words of praise for his younger siblings.
“I would say that both Ethan and Hannah have done great in their careers this far,” he said. ”Ethan coming in as a sophomore and doing well in both baseball and basketball is just amazing and the season he had last year in both sports is great as well. It is really hard being a freshman or sophomore playing because you are so nervous and don't want to let the team down, plus you are playing kids older than you.
“Hannah doing as good as she has in middle school is amazing as well and I believe she will be as successful in high school as she was in middle school because of her work ethic.
“They have both worked really hard to get to where they are and deserve whatever they accomplish. I'm very proud of them and I wish them the best on the rest of their careers.”