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Dartmouth Alumni Magazine – “The Lottery”

Short Story: The Lottery

by Denis O’Neill, 1970

“Random numbers and the fates they foretold made December 1, 1969, a night to remember for everyone on campus.”

The class of 1970 became the first since World War II to graduate with a diploma—and a draft number. In this excerpt from his memoir of those tumultuous times, a former Dartmouth hockey captain looks back on the televised draft lottery that riveted the campus—and the hockey game that became an afterthought.

Danny awoke in the dark in his New Hampshire Hall room on the morning of December 1, 1969. Sleep had been fitful. He had dreamed of Birdie somewhere in Vietnam—a year removed from the first game of his last year in school, as far from ice as he could be. He remembered how Birdie looked that summer evening on the brink of going to war: scared…haunted…resigned. Danny felt a similar resignation. The road was about to fork, but the choice would not be his. He could hear his roommates’ heavy breathing. In theory they were all in the same boat, but for Ethan the inevitability of medical school provided him with a reliable life preserver. Russell always slept well. He had long since mastered the art of not worrying about things he could do nothing about—an enviable approach to life reinforced with a con man’s confidence in his ability to evade danger. Read the Full Story Here »

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About the Author

Denis R. O'Neill began publishing articles and short stories in Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Fly Rod & Reel, Antiques, American Photographer and others. His first original screenplay, "The River Wild", was produced in 1994. His second screenplay, "A Shot At Glory" was released in 2001. He recently self-published: "WHIPLASH – When the Vietnam War rolled a Hand Grenade into the Animal House". Several other projects, including a novelization of "The River Wild", are waiting on deck.

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