Hostage Captain 'a Regular Guy' and Ferocious Ball Player

'That swim—it didn’t surprise me at all': friend
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2009 5:35 AM CDT
A yellow ribbon has messages from local residents for Capt. Richard Phillips in the Underhill Country Store in Underhill, Vt., Friday, April 10, 2009    (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
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(Newser) – The American captain being held by Somali pirates is a regular guy on land and a true professional at sea, his friends and family tell the New York Times.  Richard Phillips is placid and relaxed during his downtime with his wife and their college age-kids at his Vermont home, spending his time doing chores, golfing with buddies, and telling stories of life at sea.

Phillips is a huge sports fan and plays a ferocious game of basketball, say friends, who believe his athletic ability may be what gets him through the ordeal alive. "When he went for that swim today, it didn’t surprise me at all,” said a friend who grew up with Phillips outside Boston. “He’s got good intuition, and he’s a very determined guy."