WARREN, Pa. – Big things come in small packages. For Warren’s John Swanson, it just goes with the territory, literally.
Warren County is that package.
“Swanny” from Draft House has been a lifelong sports fan, but not just professional or college. Swanny is one of the most die-hard local sports fans around. Sure, he talks the talk; as a bartender, he can throw around the banter or sports trivia with the best of his customers.
“Bored on couch…top players at positions in nfl history…..just my opinion, which is not the best at times.
TE-Tony Gonzales *Gronk still has time haha
DE-Tie Bruce Smith/Reggie White
S-tie Ronnie Lott/Ed Reed”
With an “S” on his chest for “SuperFAN,” he’s as likely to be at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y. or Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., as he is at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. But, depending on the day, Swanson would prefer a Friday night at Warren’s War Memorial Field.
Swanson loves Warren County, he loves the people, and he loves the local sports it offers.
“All of the above,” said Swanson.
He doesn’t stop there. He collects things – especially sports memorabilia- and, lately, he’s been creating his own.
Recently, Swanson made and sold some “Warren County” trucker’s ball caps.
He felt a little festive and made some framed artwork and winter caps around the famous “Warren County Wishes You A Merry Christmas” lighted sign on the south side of the Allegheny River.
Famous for around here, of course.
That’s the thing, Warren County means a lot to Swanny, and he holds it in high regard.
In collecting sports memorabilia, Swanny is sharing his love of hometown sports with friends and neighbors.
Swanny’s latest venture; he collects miniature replica football helmets, some autographed. Along the way, he has had some replicas made of local football teams.
Swanson – who wore No. 24 when he played at Eisenhower High School nearly four decades ago – has made them in the past as gifts for local athletes like Ben Maljovec, T.J. Latimer, and Austin Jerman.
Different eras had different designs.
Check. He’s got it covered.
“That was the Kulka era,” Swanson said of one Warren Dragons’ mini.
“I get them from different places and put them together,” said Swanson of the materials. “Not sure how many. A few. Ha!”
A few is right. In addition to Warren, Eisenhower and county high schools, he’s expanded to other schools in PIAA District 10.
“I don’t have a pic (with the helmets). I sold all my Warren and Ike helmets,” he said.
Some are so life-like, they include bonus “award stickers” players used to get for great effort.
“Thinking of those days about brings tears to my eyes…,” said one former Dragon.
What’s next? Replica jerseys?
Ask Swanny on Facebook. If it would spark emotion, he’s probably thought of it.