We can collectively agree that the layup line before a basketball game will more times than not be the least exciting part of the contest. Tim Swenson’s intramural team was warming up before a game during his freshman year, executing the same mundane pre-game formality. The 6-foot-7 lanky Swenson drew attention for obvious reasons, but he would soon captivate an entire gym in a matter of seconds.
Swenson asked his friend to throw him an alley-oop and he dunked it. Swenson stood rim in hand, dodging the shards of glass that followed with onlookers in awe.
“I honestly don’t even know what exactly… I didn’t expect to break a backboard,” Swenson said. “I caught it and dunked it. I didn’t hang on the rim or anything. As soon as the ball went through the hoop, the rim just came down with me and the glass shattered. No one was hurt, everyone in the gym turned around and was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ I had no idea what happened. It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”
Basketball has been in Swenson’s blood for as long as he can remember. He played four years at Millbury Memorial High School and was recruited by Charlie Brock. Gifted by height, the junior has worked extremely hard on the sport he loves, including battling injury.
“I’ve had three knee surgeries, most recently last November,” Swenson recalled. “It’s been tough to rehab that much, but I feel great now. Everything is going well. I hope it stays that way.”
Despite being so involved in the sport he cherishes, this season is the first year Swenson has donned the Pride’s maroon and white for the men’s basketball team.
A Physical Therapy major, Swenson dedicated the first two years of his college experience to his academics, a decision that irked him while close friends were playing on the varsity team. The urge to play was strong, and soon Swenson’s friends began encouraging him to make his return.
“Sean Martin,” Swenson said firmly. “Sean has been one of my best friends since SOAR. I was supposed to be playing basketball and he was supposed to be playing basketball, so right there we hit it off. He was the motivating force behind me to play this year. Even this year I wanted to play, and I was still kind of on the fence, and he said, ‘Listen, you need to play. You miss it so much and you need to go out there and give it a shot.’”
While it was a tough decision to remove himself from the game he loved, both he and Brock knew that is was a reasonable choice. However, since joining the basketball team, Swenson has enjoyed the best grades of his Springfield College academic career.
“I was supposed to play my freshman year here, but when I got here I realized college is a lot of work,” Swenson said. “I’m in the PT program, so I talked to Coach Brock about it and he understood. Last semester I actually had the best GPA since I’ve been here. I feel like being on a more strict time schedule, I’m more on top of things than I normally would be.”
Swenson would certainly like to return for his senior year, but an intense workload in the PT major is the only thing standing between him and the hardwood in Blake Arena.
“It’s still up in the air. I obviously want to,” Swenson said. “I mean it’s been a part of my life and I missed it a lot when I didn’t’ play, so I would like to. The only reason if I don’t play is because it’s a lot more intense. Obviously I would like to play and come back for my senior year.”