When Bobby Tabeling enrolled as a freshman at Trinity Lutheran, he knew he was going to be a multi-sport athlete.
The head coach of the soccer team for the past three years was Bobby’s brother, Brandan, and the head baseball coach at Trinity is Bobby’s father, Bob.
“Coming from the family I came from, sports has really been basically the biggest part with my brothers Brandan and Bradley, sister Brittany, and even my little sister, Bailey — even though she’s not in high school — our whole lives we’ve played more than one sport. We’ve never stuck with just one,” Bobby said.
“Just playing sports it kind of feels like kind of calm, like that is where I should be. I stated playing soccer in grade school. I just jumped into the sport and my coach put me at forward, and that’s where I’ve always been.”
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Bobby said the senior night soccer match was special to him this past fall, as he was surrounded by his family.
“Senior night was awesome,” he said. “My brother, Bradley, was the trainer for Scottsburg. He switched so he could do our game, which was nice because my older brother, Brandan, has coached me the last three years. That was really awesome for all three of us to be there.”
In the spring, Bobby has enjoyed playing for his father.
“It’s a blast because it’s another thing just like soccer, where I’m not only playing a sport that I love, but someone else in my family loves,” He said. “We’re doing it together so we’re still spending time bonding for that moment.”
Bobby said he thoroughly enjoyed his time on the soccer pitch, where he helped the Cougars win two sectionals.
“There were times when I’d move back to midfield in some games to get the ball to other players, but my main position has always been up top,” Tabeling said. “I like to play in the middle or left side because when I cut the ball back into the middle to shoot, I’m dragging it to my right foot.”
The senior has recorded several hat tricks during his career, holds the school record for goals in a season and in a career.
“When I’m against the goalie one-on-one, I go for back post because that’s the side of the goal the goalie really can’t guard as well,” Tabeling said. “I look for a corner to pass it in to.
“With corner (kicks), since we’re so tall and especially me with my height (6-foot-8), we just wanted to get the ball in the air toward someone like me. Last year we had Toby VanLiew around the same height as me, and this year we had A.J. (Goecker) and Luke (Onken). It was nice to get the ball into the middle where one of our tall people could get in the air and win it.”
In games, Tabeling said it is important for each match to get off to a good start.
“Getting the first goal is probably one of the most important things, especially in a close game where you know it might end up 1-0,” he said. “The first goal is crucial because it can tear the other team down, but sometimes it can also build them up to make them want it more.”
Tabeling played basketball his freshman year, than set out the past two years and decided to play again this winter.
“Growing up, basketball was the sport I liked to play,” he said. “Then I started to fade away from it. I played my freshman year and then I decided to take a break. Last year I could tell I wanted to play again, and especially this being my senior year and the last time I’ll be able to play competitively. I didn’t think I could let my childhood sport go away.
“Growing up I was always the point guard for our team. I know my height will be really good for rebounding, and with being so tall I know I’ll get put down low sometimes. I’ve never been a post, I’ve always been a shooting-type player.”
In 2016, Tabeling will pitch and play in center field.
“I like centerfield, I just like being in the outfield running to get the ball,” he said. “I call all balls that I think I can get to. I like defense more than hitting.
“I stopped playing baseball in grade school to play soccer. When I stopped playing baseball that is when different types of pitches were introduced, the curveball and different stuff like that. So what I’ve always been used to is a fastball.”
Tabeling said he looks forward to pitching in the spring.
“I’ll throw a fastball, change-up, curve ball and I’ve been working on my slider. I can locate my fastball. I can get it in there pretty good.
“When it gets down to the lower end of the batting order, it means they’re not as good a hitters, they’re more fastball hitters, that’s why there at the bottom. You can still throw your fastball because you can get it past them, but I can throw my curve and change up because they’re not really used to hitting them.”
Parents: Bob and Barb Tabeling
Siblings: Brandan, Brittany, Bradley, Bailey
Sports: soccer 4 years, baseball 4 years, basketball 2 years
Athletic highlight: soccer: two-time sectional champions, two-time most valuable player, county player of year, two-time all-county team, school record for goals for season and career; baseball: sectional champions 2013
Plans after high school: attend college
Organizations: student ambassador, drama, choir, chess club, guitar club
Favorite food: pizza
Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead”
Favorite singer: Ed Sheeran
Favorite movie: “Troy”
Favorite athletic teams: Cristiano Ronaldo
Q: What is it like attending Trinity Lutheran?
A: “Coming into it I knew I was going to enjoy it. I already knew a lot of the teachers always coming to watch Bradley play sports and seeing everybody and talking to people.
“I know it’s a smaller school, but it’s really nice. If you ever have a problem the teachers are always going to be there for you. The people here are all good, nice people. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Q: How does weather affect your play on the soccer field?
A: “Depending on your position, the rain is either good or its really bad. For goalies, it’s bad because if the ball stays on the ground it’s really hard to stop. I really looked forward to rain because it made it easier. If you kept it on the ground, it would take one skip and get past the goalie.”
Q: Do you feel like you have an advantage playing at home?
A: “I like them. We have a really nice field. It’s like the environment at Trinity in all the sports, the home games are really fun.”