My older brother Blair and I overlapped at the BYU for two years. I started college in the fall of 1999 and he was done in the spring of 2001. It was great fun to have him there with me - a reminder of all things familiar and someone to help me (and give me rides) when I needed it, but entirely away from the restraint and rules of home. Blair did things like put on long-haired wigs and thick glasses and speak in an accent when he came to pick me up at my dorm for a Macey's run or just a visit. Of course he somehow managed to make these ridiculous appearances during the times when the most people were around for maximum embarrassment.
On certain days after class, I'd go over to his house south of campus (with a distinctive door dubbed by him and his roommates as "die Tür mit den drei Streifen," which, if you get the reference, I promise is clever). I got to be really good at Diddy Kong Racing there. At the end of my freshman year, we drove back to Oregon in his 1988 (?) red Toyota Corolla full to the brim. We got a late start and sometime in the middle of the night we had to pull off at a deserted freeway exit to check a strange rattling sound coming from the roof and we admitted to each other our mutual fear that there was an axe-murderer riding on top of the car, creating an opportunity to kill us. (There wasn't.)
Anyway, what I really mean to tell you is that Blair played on an intramural soccer team at the BYU. Now, since I only attended the one university for my undergraduate degree, I couldn't tell you if intramural sports there are more or less competitive than average. But my guess is that they are extremely competitive. Strangely so, considering that the prize for an intramural championship was just a t-shirt (but I guess it was a FREE t-shirt). Blair's soccer team, called FC Dawgs United, if I remember correctly, was playing in the intramural league's Division I, the highest level.
I went to every game I could. They were always very exciting and the level of play was always impressive. At that level, you had some former college-level players mixed in with high school stars whose skills weren't too out of date yet. Blair's team progressed all the way to the Division I intramural finals and on a cold, late fall morning I headed out to watch the championship game.
Of course it was a fantastic game against FC Dawgs United's bitter rival, Blink something-or-other. They had played each other a time or two earlier in the season and the games were always more heated and brutal than usual. This final game was no different. It was great entertainment.
Not so fun, however, was the moment that came near the end of the game. I don't remember the score. I don't remember exactly how it happened except that it had to do with some dubious move by the rival team. I just remember an unearthly yell and looking over to see one of the players on Blair's team lying on the ground, gripping his leg in pain and holding it above his head.
The reason I remember this image so well is because his foot was hanging away from the rest of his leg at a right angle. Not from his knee at a right angle, no. From his shin. His leg was horribly broken and it had happened right in front of us.
Again, I don't remember exactly but I think the officials called the game early and decided the two teams would share the championship. I don't know if they had to print extra t-shirts or what. The injured player was on crutches for weeks and that image of his broken leg dangling there for all to see remains one of the weirder college memories I have.
The funny thing is, the next season, the two teams who had played against each other before so bitterly combined their skills to make one team, FC Blink United. I wish I could remember if they were so incredibly awesome in skill that they won the championship, but I can't get the image of that broken leg out of my mind. Let's assume they did.
PS, if you want to know what this injury looked like, watch this video (but not if you don't want to see someone's leg get broken). Seriously, it was JUST like this. Gross, huh.