I was a student/athlete at UK loving my new-found independence and doing what I loved the most, playing football. I was home in Atlanta for Christmas break when the first lottery was televised in 1969. My friends from high school and I were sitting around an old black and white TV drinking beer and watching the drawing in an an anxious, quiet mood.
One of my best friends and tight end on my HS football team had his number pulled on the second draw. During high school, he had been recruited by Alabama but his grades and ACT scores weren’t good enough for him to receive a scholarship even to a smaller school. He decided to enlist after the drawing because of the inevitability of his being drafted.
After completion of his basic training, he was sent to Viet Nam. The first day there he was sent by helicopter into the bush. He came face to face with an enemy soldier. He reacted quickly and killed his opponent but had his leg shot off during the exchange. He was literally there for one day and back to the states in the same week. Needless to say, those of us lucky enough to be in college found a renewed academic interest. I still get a sick feeling of luck and guilt when I think of my friend.