Intimidating football names

On Saturday afternoons in the fall, they'd sneak up to the overhead track at Simpson College's century-old gym and listen to their dad's halftime pep talks.The Easters were a Minnesota Vikings family, but early on Zac defected and chose the Green Bay Packers. Zac's elder brother, Myles Jr., was taller, faster, talented enough to earn a college football scholarship and a spot in his high school's sports hall of fame.They were a pair of scrappers whose jagged edges fit. Ali was a budding progressive: a first-year student at a good law school who'd interned at Senator Tom Harkin's D. After they graduated, they became more than friends.Sometimes he called her Winslow, her middle name, and only Winslow knew the full extent of Zac's struggles in the five and a half years since high school: the brain tremors that felt like thunderclaps inside his skull, the sudden memory lapses in which he'd forget where he was driving or why he was walking around the hardware store, the doctors who told him his mind might be torn to pieces from all the concussions from football.Zac was fearless, certain of his invincibility, confident he could push his limits to the very edge yet always stay in control.He was perfect for the one thing that mattered most in the Easter family: football. talks about his own football career, there's a joyful worship of the sport's violent side: “I just wanted to knock the fuck out of somebody.” He was a safety at Drake University, a small school in Des Moines.

They'd come to practice every day and hang off to the side with the kickers.

Zac was shorter and slower, but he was the toughest son of a bitch on the field.

“He was out there to fuck people up,” says Myles Jr.

By now he was shitfaced and driving around the suburbs. She talked him down and into a gas-station parking lot, and then he hung up.

He'd already been awake for hours, since well before sunrise. M., he texted Ali an apology: “Sorry about last night.” Then he started drinking.

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