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Friday Player Profile: Luke Caparelli, Who Didn't Actually Blow Up Anything

Inside the helmets in the news.
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Growing up in the shadow of the nation's capital, Luke Caparelli knew about privilege. The other kids in Fairfax had it; he didn't. And when they'd zip across the Potomoc in their parents' BMW while daddy was on state business in Riga or some awful place, he felt it. Every Friday night he ripped villans' heads from their torso with the spinal column stilled attached on his decade-old copy of Mortal Kombat 2, he pictured his classmates sneaking past a bouncer, or bribing him, drinking, performing spontaneous, flawless group choreography to "Hey Ya!" Oh, they liked Luke all right: handsome, outgoing, fast. God, was he fast. On the field, a blur. But off the field...also a blur? He never really knew.

Maybe that was his answer.

He couldn't have known when he committed to Wake Forest it would be this way. Hell, nobody could have known. In his mind, Wake became a panacea, the oasis in Luke's self-constructed desert of isolation. Virginia? Virginia Tech? No, no, anything to get away from that forsaken, backward commonwealth. "Common poverty," he sometimes joked, or occasionally, "Common death," during his goth phase. No one laughed, if they even heard. Maryland? Where he would have to drive through the heart of that dank, doomed, marble city, just to be in a place where everyone else was training to get into it? It wasn't that way at Wake Forest. They didn't care only about winning; maybe - probably! - in some way, they didn't care about winning at all. Wake embraced the wildly blasphemous concept of a "demon deacon." It wasn't home.

He couldn't have known there would be bowl games, and a championship, and all that reeking money all of a sudden, with the betrayal and sickening decadence that comes with it. They wore the same pretentious clothes at Wake, drove the same cars, made the same inane jokes, took the same drugs, listened to the same lame music, only thought about booze and girls. The other freshmen still didn't invite Luke to sneak into clubs. They were arrogant, rich, spoiled little brats. And here, they were all fast.

Wake Forest couldn't be what Luke needed it to be, when he needed it. No place could have been, he thinks now. But it was Wake, specifically, that he embraced, and Wake that had failed him, and that consumed his darkest fantasies. He imagined holding that growling deacon head over his classmates, dripping blood as they wailed, agahst, frozen is shock like that one Pearl Jam video.

But he didn't do anything. He would never do anything to hurt anyone.