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Remembering our brother, Carter Payne

    By Evan Rasmussen (U-M Men’s Soccer ’23)

    Eight months ago, we lost Carter in a hit-and-run accident in Georgia. He was not only a great teammate who was funny, supportive, and caring – he was also an extraordinary fighter who gave his best at every opportunity to improve. I think everyone who knew him would say the same. We miss you bud.

    I have lots of stories that remind me of Carter. When the Fueling Station team asked me to pick the top, yet most appropriate, two stories, it was almost harder than passing Calc II.

    In the Fall of 2019, our team made a run in the NCAA Tournament to the Sweet 16 and stayed on campus for Thanksgiving. After brainstorming ideas to prevent ourselves from utter boredom, we came to an important realization – the West Quad was no one but ours. Naturally, this realization brought a boatload of wild ideas, several of which may have been too inappropriate to tell you guys here. 
    To stay in shape, we decided to play Teqball – a combination of soccer and table tennis. We created a makeshift table by pushing two smaller ones together and wedging two chairs in between them as the net. It was GO TIME.

    The trash talk began even before the match between myself and Carter started. We rallied back and forth as we attempted to ferociously head the ball down on the other side of the “net”. I managed to gain a quick lead of 9-6 with the match point in sight. I served the ball across to him – he popped it above his head – spun around and miraculously attempted an acrobatic scissor kick. It would have certainly been the play of the game had it not evaded my face and gone straight into the window. Everyone else cracked up as Carter stayed on the floor feeling he’d blown his chance.

    I’m not sure if I was distracted from laughing too hard about his attempt for an outrageous kick inside West Quad, but Carter didn’t lose a single point after that. He went on to beat me 10-12 and made sure to rub it in my face.

    Another incident happened on one of those infamous Saturday morning lifts we had in the winter of 2020, before being sent home due to COVID.

    January in Ann Arbor. Saturday. 7 AM. And a T-Ray workout? Sounds fun right? Every time we had a workout with T-Ray (our S&C coach at the time), it was time to go big or go home. 

    This time was no different. As we approached the end of the hour with our lungs burning and legs shaking, it was time for the finisher – Band-Resisted Cadence Push Ups. Feel free to try 4 sets of 25 reps at home, good luck.

    With the light at the end of the tunnel, “22…23…24…Don’t drop boys, we’ll have to reset if anyone falls,” T-Ray screamed. As we hung on to dear life, Carter, the fighter he is, stuck his head to the ground. And down to the 25th and final rep, with his arms completely powerless, he then proceeds to push himself up with his head or neck strength, not sure what it is. Instant bursts of laughter started echoing down the gym as everyone collapsed onto the floor. That was everyone’s first time seeing a “neck push-up.”

    Carter tackled everything with a positive yet relentless drive with him everywhere he went. It didn’t matter if he was playing in the Big Ten or West Quad, the man loved to win. These moments showed exactly who he was – a guy who never gave up, and never let his teammates down.

    Thanks for bringing so much joy to our lives, and I’m sure you’re doing the same up there my friend.

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