Coach can stomach wins, if not pregame meal

Thursday, April 26, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Hickman senior golfer Chris Johnson, left, reads the green while Rock Bridge senior Mark Kollias retrieves his ball.

Clark Swisher didn’t eat much Wednesday. He never does this time of year. He’s not able to.

The Hickman golf coach said he’s been that way for as long as he can remember. Swisher especially recalls his days as a linebacker/safety at Northern State University of South Dakota, when he would throw up before many games.

“I would eat six or seven hours before the game. Then two or three hours later, it would all disappear. Then I felt better,” said Swisher with a laugh.

It continued after his playing days ended.

“Early, early in my coaching career, my anxiety with sports continued especially when I ate. It just doesn’t digest well. Finally my stomach said ‘I’ve had enough of that.’”

He felt that way Wednesday even though his Kewpies defeated Rock Bridge 384-391 in the Playoff at Columbia County Club.

Swisher has seen doctors about it. They didn’t help.

“They just said there’s nothing you can do about it. Just live with it,” Swisher said.

His father was a coach until he was 84. He couldn’t help Swisher either. When Swisher asked his dad if he had the problem he said, “Yeah, I’m the same way.”

Swisher said his nervousness has gotten worse lately, because the end of the golf season is quickly approaching and Hickman has been a heavyweight in recent postseason play.

Hickman’s district tournament is Monday, and the Kewpies have won the tournament four years in a row. That carries plenty of pressure with it.

“Its even worse as a coach,” Swisher said. “You don’t get that relief of actually playing. And then golf is different from football and basketball because the matches last so long.”

When Swisher found out that yogurt couldn’t even cure his sport-induced stomach ailments, he learned to live with it.

“It’s not a big deal. You know it’s there and you know it’s coming back,” Swisher said.

Hickman and Rock Bridge will begin district play at 9 a.m. Monday at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield.

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