My Home Town: Gerald Swindle

“We used to get biblically beat in football, I mean scores like 55-7, 48-0, in my senior year we won just one game.

“I played all three sports but we had such a small school we would only have 18-19 guys on the football team and one of those guys couldn’t play no how.  But we would play schools that had 65 to 70 guys on the team.  They took a bus to get here, we could almost take our team to away games in just a couple of cars.

“But we were just old country kids that would never give up, we knew we were going to get the snot pounded out of us, but we weren’t going to let our parents down, our town down, we would never give up, no quit in us no matter what the score.

“The lessons I have learned on this field have stayed with me for life, will stay with me until the day I die, that you never give up, you keep going no matter what, and when you are a team you depend on each other and that other guy, he makes you stronger, and you make him stronger, you may have lost on the field but if you didn’t quit, you still gave it everything you had, if you believe in yourself, you a winner inside.”

“I remember watching my helmet shoot off my head and fly up into the air.  I’ll never forget this spot on this field, right where I’m standing I got clobbered by the Safety on the other team, broke my jaw right on this spot.

“I was the running back, it was the homecoming game, I was about to cross the goal line and out of nowhere this guy comes and just clobbers me.  I’m laying on the field and everyone comes over and they want to take my mouth piece out and I’m saying no…no…no…don’t touch it…I could feel that biting down on it kept everything in place, kept the bone in place, it hurt like hell…

“…but I never came out of the game.  When I was about to get hit I just tried to make sure the other side of my head would take the blow, not the hurt side, so I would be leaning in all awkward, but it didn’t hurt as much that way.”

“Many days before school, I would stand right here on this rock and fish until the last possible second then climb on my bicycle and head the mile or so to school.

“It’s here where I learned how to read rivers, I would cross this river on this bridge everyday of my life, I got to learn the subtleness of the current, watched how the fish used the river, learned to read the color of the water standing right here.

“In the summertime I would come down here with my dad, we’d have these two inner tube floats and we would climb in right here and float down the river fishing, after a couple of hours my mother would bring the truck and meet us down river and take us home.  It was always a great day, but even greater when we had fish we could bring home to eat.”

“My first job was right here, this boat ramp, I was 15 years old and I worked seven days a week all summer launching boats…