Editor’s Note: For a recap of the season, Fizzy refers you to Saturday’s Inquirer story by Marc Narducci. The less said about this season the better, so here’s a story about another season. By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
In late August of 1959, we arrived at Camp Sun Mountain in the Poconos for two weeks of pre-season football training. Our basketball coach, Harry Litwack, owned the camp and, it was about 10 miles from Stroudsburg. There are several engaging stories about these two weeks, but I will zero in on this one today.
There were about 10 sophomores present, and it was our first crack at playing varsity as freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity back then. Of course, the upperclassmen used this time to initiate the sophomores with all sorts of weird, contrived, and tortuous activities. The word soon leaked out that a “hit squad” would use the electric razors from the training room to shave a “T” on the sophomore’s heads. Most sophomores were in one bunk, and we pledged to defend each other when the attack came.
On the fourth night at about 3 a.m., I woke when four guys had me pinned to my cot. I yelled to wake up the others and plead for help. But no help came as my chicken-shit friends cowered under their covers. I distinctly remember that yellow-bellies John Lukens, David Moses, Joe Corbi, Tom Rice, Roger Barr, and Jerry Brodsky (the only senior who slept with us) just watched.
I fought hard but to no avail. As the electric razor buzzed, I twisted and squirmed. The only was result was there was no “T,” just jagged bald spots disrupting my semi-long hair. When it was over, I went around the bunk, trying to punch my so-called friends. When I looked in the mirror, I was horrified.
The next day, the coaches kept turning away when I had my helmet off. (I can’t imagine why.) When practice was over, coach Gavin White told me to take the afternoon off and go to the barber in Stroudsburg. I borrowed Brodsky’s car and got my head shaved.
Next door to the barber was a clothing store. I went in and bought three leather caps, red, white, and blue. They were the kind that fit snugly to your head and had a snap on the short brim in the front. I shuddered when I thought about being bald and back on campus, especially since I had already developed a list of females whose acquaintance I wished to further.
On the second day back at school, we had a scheduled sociology class. My entire physical education class was there, along with several other females on my list mentioned above. However, there were at least 30 too many students for that room. Oh, I was wearing my red cap.
The professor came in and gave a short speech about the importance of sociology, casually mentioning he’d written some books. What struck us as unusual was he spoke with a clipped English accent. It sounded phony. (We later found out he was from Trenton.) His name was Dr. Schwab.
The professor said there were far too many students, and they would have to split this class. We tried not to laugh as he called the roll, trying to sound like Cary Grant.
When he finally got to my name, I said, “Here, sir.” Schwab stared at me for a few moments and said, “I say, young man, remove your cap.” I replied, “Sir, I’m not trying to be a wise guy; I have a reason for wearing the hat.”
Schwab’s face got red, and he said, I told you to take off the cap.” I answered, “Please, sir, I have a reason for keeping it on.” Schwab then stood and yelled, “Take it off!”
At this point, I was thoroughly pissed. I thought, what kind of asshole would force a college student to take off his hat when the student had politely responded? After all, and most likely, I had a medical reason for keeping it on.
I was now long past, being embarrassed. So I stood, and with a sweeping Errol Flynn motion, I doffed my cap and bowed in three different directions to Schwab and my classmates. The class went nuts, laughing, whistling, and clapping. Dr. Schwab also went nuts, “Out, Out,” he yelled. “Get out!”
I continued to bow as I left the classroom.
That sociology class was a Tuesday/Thursday one. When we returned on Thursday, Schwab called my name to go to the new class. On my way out the door, he looked at me and said, “You are a lucky man.”
And that’s how playing football for Temple got me thrown out of sociology class.
Wednesday: Getting The Old Gang Back
Saturday: Five Guys Who Didn’t Make Excuses