Saturday, May 13, 2017

Looking for a  Swamp Hog

Looking back, I vividly see my senior high school years when the school was situated on Penn Street between Chestnut and Walnut St's during the early 1950's. Neat being downtown for most kids but, I lived in Lower Pottsgrove on North Keim Street a couple miles from school, so most every thing required extensive walking to attend anything extracurricular. Walking, when in your teens, was just a fact of life which consumed some time. 

The Swamp Hogs was a high school recreation league basketball team informally lead by Ed Gibble, yes, the same Eddie Gibble who is the Prudential Insurance man. Games were played in the basement of the High School along Penn Street in a large, high ceilinged room we schoolers took our gym classes in. It was outfitted for basketball by having standard 10 foot high baskets at either end and a modicum of traditional lines, though awfully faded, painted on the floor. Out of bounds was generally called if the basketball touched a wall, in fact, the area was better used for dodge ball which we constantly played in our gym classes without incurring any out of bounds. It didn't matter wether a player or a ball bounced off the walls, the game continued on.

Today, from Washington, DC., comes the chant of "the draining the swamp" by the president. I guess, meaning : cleaning out the people varmints living there who are living off the excesses which seems to permeate life in our Capitol. A study of news these days sort of indicates D.C. is overrun with swamp hogs, swamp rats, swamp snakes, and swamp 'gaters all wallowing in the muddy waters of our present political system. 

Back in high school, I never thought the steward young men I played against would have to carry a derogatory name at these last stages of their lives. Being  a Swamp Hog back then was an honor just because it was a super name, very descriptive. Even to this date Eddie, a super salesman, promoted Swamp Hogs his whole life, more in jest these days than in reality. Never did he think the nature of swamps would change especially in the derogatory way it has been demeaned these days. 

Yes, I believe the Swamp must be drained and the first to be flushed down the drain would be the perpetrator of the idea. Remember, you have to cut off the head of any varmint you wish to eliminate. Swamp Hogs were a good bunch of guys but the guys I played with on my team were good too. The trouble is, I've forgotten my team's name and players' names to old age since we didn't have a memorable name like "Swamp Hogs" that you can't forget. For olden time's sake !

Ronald C. Downie, Class of 1953

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