"Then they had
to put antiseptic on it again because Franco kept touching it, and then they
put the stitches in and Franco is going like this...." Swann makes a series
of tight-lipped faces.
saying 'Is that all? Is that all?' And the doctor said he thought he ought to
get a tetanus shot. Franco didn't want to. I told him I'd take one, I hadn't
had one in a long time and we get those carpet burns on the turf. Franco still
didn't want to. He said, 'How bad is it if you get tetanus?' The doctor said,
'You get like this....' " Swann makes a series of tight-lipped faces just
like the ones Franco was making when he got stitches.
'Franco, just go ahead and get the shot.'
" 'Well, what
are the warning signs?' Franco wants to know. 'I could wait and get the shot if
I start having them.'
says, 'Put it this way, Franco, nine out of 10 people who get the warning signs
don't make it.'
" 'What if I
get nauseous?' Franco says. 'Could I get the shot then?' He's still trying to
talk the doctor out of the shot. Then finally he sits down, and he's like a
high jumper crouched waiting for the wind to be just right. 'Got to get ready.
Ah-right...mmn. Ah-right-ah-right-ah-right—wait a minute.' "
So. Maybe Harris
is chicken. Maybe that's why he's so sympathetic to kids in hospitals, and why
he has preserved himself so admirably, and even why he suddenly gets those
sudden bursts. Walter Conti says Franco told him, after making his first long
NFL run, "All of a sudden I saw a hole, cut through it, and saw these two
big fellas coming after me. I was so scared I burst out fast, and the next
thing I knew I was 10 yards downfield. I don't like getting hit."
Maybe that's not
the kind of humanitarianism Whizzer White seeks to foster, but you have to take
humanitarianism and breaths of fresh air and great running backs where you find
them. One thing Harris has learned in his years of reading is this:
"The hole is
never where it's supposed to be."
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