Another hard practice, lifting, dinner, the drawing lab. The glamorous life continues. The drawing lab gives new meaning to the word quiet. The only sounds are the squeaking of stools and the hum of the 13 fluorescent lights (one is burned out). And there sits scholar-athlete Davey, shoes untied and baseball cap on backward (he has worn it that way since childhood, when he rode a bike on windy days). Davey is concentrating. Who is Lorenzo White? Who cares?
Late in the evening, with midnight drawing near, Davey relaxes. The two toughest practice days are over. He's making progress in drawing lab. And now he is in his room, a room that even a corrupt health department inspector would condemn: shoes, Old Spice, Folgers, NyQuil, sunflower seeds, mouthwash. White Sox poster, drawers stuffed beyond full, scraps of paper, unmade bed. And dirt. Tons of dirt. Davey's feet are up, and his cap is on backward.
"I like engineering because I've always liked being able to understand all the forces, for example, on this table," he says. "I like being able to understand how things work. People sometimes say, 'Why would you want to know?' I just do. Doesn't everybody want to understand why the back of the refrigerator gets hot and the inside stays cold? I believe that education is not always fun but it's always interesting.
"And I never want anybody to be better than I am. I got an A/B in a stupid little one-credit general engineering class a year ago, and it really bothers me. In my entire school career, from kindergarten on, I never got anything lower than an A. The best students, the best courses, that's the company I've always been in. In sixth grade, I used to get on my bike and ride over to the junior high for courses to stimulate me, and I read Exodus and Black Like Me.
"But that one A/B bothers me. I know it's not practical to think you can go all through school with a 4.0. But I never thought anything less would be O.K. Because it's not. The whole reason I'm here is to get an education. I'm not here to prepare myself for the NFL. And I am definitely not counting on the NFL. What I am counting on is making good grades, graduating and then going out and finding a good job. If I am drafted, that is something I would consider as an alternative.
"But I don't think we spend too much time on football. It's a game that takes a lot of time, and if this is what it takes, then this is what we should put in. I love football, whether it's silly or not. There is nothing better than going out on a Saturday afternoon in front of 75,000 people and giving your best. If you like to run and hit people, it's the perfect game."
He struggles into his bunk and mutters to his roommate, center Jim Basten, "I hope Michigan State doesn't kill us. That would suck." It's nearly 2 a.m.
It's shortly after 8 a.m., and Davey starts his day in economics. Then it's on to the drawing lab, this time for a class. Today's subject is fitted holes, and assistant professor Manner asks, "So what if the shaft doesn't fit the hole?"
Responds a student, "Get a hammer."