The Secret Michigan Blog of Quarterback Tom Brady
Part 4 of an Ongoing Series
This is what I’ve always done best: found the best and bettered him. When I first met Zac, I recognized him for what he was, a hedonist of an intensity hitherto incomprehensible prior to my studies at the University of Michigan. The raw materials of someone with his proclivity for mixing intellectual veracity with exotic intoxicants may have existed in an number of secondary schools, but the catalyst of detachment from any consequential responsibilities that higher education under the umbrella of parents with a wide, wide tax bracket could not, for a student living at home, drive the potent reaction between mind games and mind-bending substances that was Zac.
There are only a small handful of academic institutions who play in the same conference as Michigan; that number may be smaller than the Big Ten if reputation is cross-referenced with endowments and resources. In those great institutions, only a smaller number still are anywhere near a major metropolitan area where a cornucopia of controlled substances can be gathered with the right friend along the gridded blocks in Detroit.
To be frank and further the point, there is no place in the world quite like Detroit when it comes to civic decrepitude, and no other great school near Detroit for hundreds of miles. Only in Ann Arbor are the conditions right to produce people like Sage and Zac. Upon recognizing Zac's status as an erratic gem of effulgent psychedelia washing onto a rock beach made of smooth, dull stoners, I wanted to outshine him in the way the shine best: by getting more fucked up than him until I graduated and grew up at once.
I wasn’t always like Zac, a brain torturing, heart eating hedonist who braided his nerves into some kind of kaleidoscopic jewelry and then paraded around flashing the freak flag colors of its every thread, nor would I stay such a manchild. Like many in college, and in Ann Arbor particularly, the come down from years of schooling got me high. The vertiginous spin of a liberal arts education detaching its students from reality through a trick of the ear was nearing the precipice where the frivolity of scholastics fell off into the banality of logistics. I was about to graduate.
Despite the confidence that I could reach hitherto uncharted zeniths of football achievement were I to reach the NFL, the prospect of an action toward a professional career remained bogged in the mire of the subjunctive tense, and was rapidly threatening to become a counterfactual conditional; there was a very real chance that after the NFL draft, the fact that I could and should make it in the pros would not mean that I would ever get to the pros. This increased the rotational acceleration already dizzying me toward poor judgement, and I was left a confused scholar in the hands of conscripting adults who may or may not need me for their war.
So I took up arms in a war of my own making, one waged on myself and all who would keep me well, and vowed to fight on until I knew, after the draft, whether I would have a reason to meaningfully give a fuck about life that wasn’t a compromise ever again. The potential and potential energy were always there, but until I knew if my greatness was to be wasted energy, you found me energetically wasted, faded and burning out and hoping to not fade away.