Getting a physical can be a traumatic thing for a young man.
When they decided that all young men trying out for the high school football team
should meet in the gym and get physicals given by doctors from Fort Detrick, it was far too much to put us through.
The first doctor, who resembled Elton John, announced that, when we entered his booth, we should pull down our pants, bend over and crack a smile. As his statement quickly passed down the line of young men, some players got out of line and never played again.
In the next booth was the dreaded hernia check. The line had stopped moving.
Then, somebody said the doctor had checked Howard Smith and determined that he had three balls.
All four doctors went into the booth, and, it was true: Howard had three balls.
Howard never got over what had been revealed. It was all over school the next day, and,
when teammates passed him in the halls, we would hold up three fingers.
I think he was embarrassed at first but came to enjoy the notoriety.
We were proud to have Howard on the team.
We knew no player on the opposing team could match his ball count.