I’ve been thinking about my brother, Brandon, since I came across this post from Ben Talbert.
I don’t know when he began beating me at sports, but it couldn’t have been long after I returned from Germany at age 21. Although I am seven year his senior, he was now taller and more muscular than I was.
He was also a much better athlete. Tossing the football came easy to him. His arm had a natural motion while I couldn’t toss a spiral if my life depended on it. I enjoyed attending his games, especially his junior year when he was the starting quarterback.
When the football season ended and fall turned to winter we headed up Little Cottonwood canyon to spend the day skiing at Alta. As great as the skiing was (and Utah snow amazing), what I enjoyed most was the ride up the lift together. It was a chance to talk about sports, girls, school or whatever without any distractions. Sometimes we’d sit in silence taking in the scenery.
It wasn’t long before he became a better skier. Whatever the sport, it came easy to him. And not just sports. But school, and friendships and life. Maybe that’s just my perception. It’s possible he was working like mad behind the scenes and what I was able to see appeared to come easy. I’ve always been a little envious of him in this regard.
Eventually, I got married, finished college and moved to Seattle. The distance has affected our friendship more than others. I see my parents more regularly because they are able to travel to Seattle more often while Brandon and Jenn are busy raising a young family with four children. He’s busy and I’m busy. Everyone is busy. Lame excuse.
Tonight I sat on the couch watching a baseball games I could not care less about. I wonder what Brandon is doing? Seven thirty in Seattle means eight thirty in Utah. He’s probably putting his kids in bed. Maybe he’s in bed and a call would disturb him. Or worse and wake his kids.
A dozen excuses flashed through my mind.
But I grabbed the phone and dialed his number. He answered and we talked for nearly an hour. Just like weekends he stayed at my tiny apartment in North Salt Lake. Or like the times rode the chair lift together. Or laughed over a pizza at The Pie.
We are different in many ways. He’s calm, collected and avoids confrontation. I’m opinionated and moody at times. Brandon will ease up on his first serve if he’s ripping me to shreds in a game of tennis because he doesn’t want to embarrass his older brother. I’m hyper-competitive and can’t allow him beat me at a game of basketball even if that means I have bump, hack and hard foul my way to victory.
Yet we have a lot in common. We both speak German, love cars and goofy comedy like The Onion.
I wouldn’t change anything about my only brother. I just wish he lived a little closer.