This week’s interview subject is none other than Will Swint (NI). This paragon of Southern virtue hails from Sandy Creek in Georgia, and has made a name for himself on the HBS rugby field. The Harbus found Will in The Grille, musing renaissance-man style about the post-modern aesthetic inherent in the works of French artist Yves Klein. We interrupted our Southern scholar’s fascinating excursus to have a quiet caf‚ latte and a bit of chat about his sporting career so far.
Fact File: Will ‘The Thrill’ Swint
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 188 pounds
Eyes: Hazel – they pick up different types of light depending on what I am wearing
Marital Status: In a committed relationship
Favorite Food: Duck – but it must be good duck, or else it is not good
Favorite Drink: Beer
Favorite Film: Gattaca
Favorite Band: George Strait [Editors – we have never heard of them either]Nickname: The Thrill
How Acquired Nickname: Kenneth Ebbitt III (OG) gave it to me, recalling a famous baseball player, but then again, maybe Ken just gets a thrill out of looking at me
Harbus: What HBS sports team do you represent?
Will Swint: I play for the HBS rugby team.
Harbus: What position do you play?
WS: I play Hooker.
Harbus: Sounds promising – what does that involve?
WS: I have to ‘hook’ the ball. In layman’s terms, there is a big pile up of flesh called a ‘scrum’, the ball is thrown into the middle of the scrum, and I have to hook it to the back of the pile. There is also something called a ‘lineout’ and another role of the Hooker is to throw the ball into the lineout. All this, and general rugged stuff around the pitch.
Harbus: We hear you had a previous professional career that set you up
WS: What professional career?
Harbus: American Football?
WS: Oh no – I was the starting quarterback right through high school in a very small town in Georgia. I played for the Sandy Creek High School Patriots.
Harbus: Can you tell us about some of the pressures of being a small town quarterback? Was it anything like Varsity Blues?
WS: Not really, but everyone did recognize you on the street, and often their ‘observations’ got back to me. And this one time [Editors – at band camp] – my girlfriend’s parents excitedly introduced themselves to me before they knew I was dating their daughter. But it was never like Varsity Blues in terms of picking up – some girls are now more interested in druggies, not jocks.
Harbus: Do you think this reflects the moral degradation of US society?
WS: No, just the youth.
Harbus: Well, in adulthood, how are the lessons of your youth helping you in your HBS sporting career?
WS: I think as quarterback, you get used to physical contact, and being hit by guys bigger than yourself, which is vital in rugby where you are unprotected all the time. Also, a Hooker must throw straight and accurate, just like a quarterback. Finally, the ball handling skills of football transfer well to rugby where all players must handle the ball as deftly as players from football skill positions.
Harbus: Tell us about your best HBS rugby moment on the field?
WS: It was my first full game, up at McGill in the rain and mud. It was a tough, close game, which we won, and I think I threw pretty well in the lineouts. [Editors – Will is too modest to mention that this game set up his season and he ended up as Most Improved Forward.]
Harbus: HBS And your worst moment?
WS: At the Wharton tourney, I ran too quickly to back up Oliver “The Hands” Thomas* (OA), tripped over and conceded a penalty. And I split my head open when I thought I was still wearing a helmet.
*An lovely picture depicting Oliver wearing a scarf can be found in last week’s Harbus.
Harbus: What about your best moment off the pitch?
WS: Dodging nasty ‘projectiles’ from Derek Mendez (HBS 03) and Mike Butville (NB) while on tour in Canada.
Harbus: And your worst moment?
WS: Two words: Kangaroo Court.
Harbus: What’s the biggest challenge of being an athlete at HBS?
WS: Turning up to class with a black eye and cuts and trying to convince the Professor that you haven’t been in a fight. That and the tremendous time pressures of balancing sports, a social life, and academic life.
Harbus: What are the benefits of being an athlete at HBS?
WS: The camaraderie with second years, learning their tips and tricks, and the chance to hang out with people outside your section.
Harbus: Thank you for your time Will.
WS: Thank you.