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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Slice

“Turn your head and cough”

The electronic reader board outside Sacajawea Middle School said something about sports physicals.

For at least a few men who see that message, it has to prompt memories of a highly specific kind.

Most guys who were in athletics tend to remember when a bored medical practitioner reached around their scrotum to assess their fitness to return punts or shoot free throws.

Then again, for all I know, sports physicals for boys haven't changed much since "Turn your head and cough."

Maybe checking for a hernia remains a central part of the experience.

In truth, it was never quite the ordeal some boys made it out to be. I'm reminded of how Catholic children used to talk about the sacrament of Confirmation, which involved a tap on the face from the bishop.

To hear some fear-mongering older kids tell it, he really slapped the beejezus out of you when it was your turn to be confirmed. Most would agree afterward that it wasn't really so bad.

And so it was with sports physicals. One heard all sorts of stories about what awaited you when you went in the room with the doctor. But reality was pretty ho-hum.

Memorable nonetheless.

The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.