We were a tight group that lived as dorm rats at Bragaw Hall on the N.C. State University campus. We ate together, played together, and dated together. And we were very competitive. We competed at every level whether we went bowling or were shooting hoops or were after the prettiest girls.

On the day of the first draft lottery in 1969, there were crowds watching every TV on the campus. We were no exception. When a capsule was drawn and the birth date was announced, we could hear yells of dismay. One of my friends, who lived in another part of Bragaw, came to my suite. He had been partaking of some adult beverages and was quite vocal because his birth date came up at number 13. As he went around to each of us asking our draft number, his response to any number was to lament his number 13. He came up to me and asked the same question. When I told him my number was 12, he looked at me for a long moment and said "S**t, Matt, I can’t beat you at anything!"

As an aside, I was rejected for military service because I had a knee that had been injured in athletics in high school and again at State. I know that, unless one plans on making the military a career, the time served can be a wasted part of one’s life. But I would still like to have been able to serve.