I was born in Anderson, Indiana in the summer of 1979. I grew up there and went to school at College Corner grade School. I had four people that were my age that lived with me in my edition. Marcus Boffing, Todd Schaefer, Matt Clark, and Scott Stafford. When I was young Marcus and I were the closest of the two, and me and Todd were always at odds. Slowly Scott and I grew to be better friends. Sadly he moved away when we were in 5th grade. We grew up and went to East Side Middle School and Marcus became harder and harder to get a hold of, partially because he was one grade behind us and partially because he was somewhat part of the cool crowd. As middle school finished up Todd and I became best of friends and spent two summers together, all the time. During this time we moved on to Anderson Highland High School. Twice I brought Todd down to Dale Hollow Lake with me and several times he spent the whole day with my family. My family took to calling him my adopted brother. He ate with us a lot and he was there when we got our first of our current dogs, ChiChi. We had a saying that we shared a brain. Often times people would walk up on us having a conversation that had meaning to us, but meant nothing to anyone else. During the summer of my Sophomore year Todd got a job working for Meijer in Anderson and slowly he faded from my life… for a bit.
Ever since I can remember clearly (which is about 3rd grade) I had been in swimming. I was part of a swim team in Anderson called Anderson Community Aquatics Club (ACAC). I loved the practices and tried to go to all of them, but I hated the meets that they had and tried to stay away from them as much as possible. This made some of my coaches think that I was a scrub swimmer and they put little stock into me. Once I was in middle school I started swimming for the school team instead of ACAC, which further pissed off the coaches. I continued to bring about their dislike by beating a large number of their “favorite” swimmers in the middle school meets. I traveled on to high school and continued to swim for the school, and further distanced myself from the ACAC group of kids and people. I didn’t like the way they were and the way they acted. This was perhaps my first demonstration of elitism and the way some of the more spoiled rich kids and parents can be. I also saw the effects of parents who wanted something for their kids push their kids to that goal despite what their kids wanted. In swimming for Highland I found a group of people that were swimmers that treated you like a friend no matter what. In this group I found several friends that are important to me, but one that I have come to count on and call a best friend, Jim Lindzy. By the end of my junior year Jim had taken Todd’s place as the right hand man in my life. We trained in the same lane in the pool and spent several nights playing pool at my house until late. By the beginning of my Senior year some would argue (us being some of them) that we thought a like. While this might be a shade shallower than the way me and Todd where, it also allowed for us to be somewhat separate in the lives that we led but still be good friends. For Highland I started out as a second tier member of the team, one of the guys that you could count on to get third or fourth, but to always be improving and doing whatever was needed. I did letter my first year there which was a big deal as only Jim and I were able to do that as freshmen. During my sophomore year and at the beginning of my Junior year I took over the lead spot in my events and came to be the one that the team counted on to win those events. Several times that year I went in to the races knowing that the person I was swimming had been faster than me and coming out of them winning. I still got beat some, but I was winning my fair share as well, and I was constantly getting better times. As my Senior year started for swimming, I found myself stronger and in more control of the way that I was swimming. I finished out my senior year as a swimmer winning all of the single races I swam in during dual meets. I swam for and narrowly missed the Highland record for my event, the 500 freestyle. I also placed 25 in the state in that event at the state meet.
I also found that my friend Jim had started to fade from me a little. He was now spending some of his school day at the trade school learning HVAC and spending his weekends working for a company called Best Heating and Cooling. So as yoda said in Episode I of the star wars series “Two there are always”, I found myself seeking a second again. It was at this time that Todd and I hooked up again. Todd was in danger of getting expelled from school on a new rule that the board had created called the 10 absence rule. This was almost strictly because he couldn’t wake up in the morning. I didn’t want to see Todd get kicked out of school, so I started going over there in the morning and waking him up, then we would go to school. Their were only a few problems with this though. First was that this was right in the middle of swimming season, and therefore I was only able to get over there two days out of the week. Most of the other days he was making it, but slowly the number of days that he was absent crept toward ten. Another of the problems was that (purely my opinion) Todd really didn’t think he needed school. He was still working at Meijer and making decent money. The last reason, due to Todd’s brother getting kicked out of Highland and Todd’s ability to miss class and still get A’s on the tests, he was not extremely liked by the faculty and staff at Highland. This was proven by the fact that once he reached ten absences he was immediately kicked out of school for the rest of the year, but at the end of the year twenty people graduated with over ten absences (some with on the order of 20-30). So Todd was expelled from school for the last semester of my time there. We continued to talk and hang out a little, but after that he started working a lot at Meijer and that shortened our time as friends.