Abruptly, Kennedy turned the Mustang into the rear parking lot of an undistinguished six-story brick building identified on the facade as Tiger Towers, and took the last available spot. He said college life wasn't everything it was cracked up to be, but what was? He said there were times, however—
" Honolulu was the best," he said. "I gotta go back. We played two games there before Christmas, but we were so awed, the beaches and all, we blew the first one." He said the next day he discovered that a Missouri pompon girl had also made the trip. "I saw her on the beach, in a really foxy bikini. I said, 'Oh, God.' " A friend with a car came and picked up the group. "We stocked up with Coors and traveled around the island all day long. I never drank so much beer. That night when we got back they had a luau going, with an open bar."
When the team went onto the floor for the next night's game, he said, "I thought I was going to die. Half the team was hung over. And we played one of the best games we ever played, and won. I scored about 28 points. I don't know what that tells you, but I doubt Coach Stewart would get the same meaning. We had to be in good shape to live through it."
He paused at the bicycle cage near the rear door of the brick building. A 10-speed bike was chained to the fence, its front wheel missing. "That's mine," he said. "The guy who stole the wheel must have been blind. The chain was just looped over the seat. All he had to do was lift it off and he could have had the whole bike. If you don't chain things down around here, you get ripped off. That's why I've decided to keep my shotguns at home." He opened the door and went inside.
There is no sex discrimination at Tiger Towers. The 176 coed units rent from $225 a month to nonstudents and students alike, though it is located on campus. The building has laundry and game rooms, a study lounge and a main-floor reception area with a 24-inch color television. The building is ten years old but appears considerably older. The motif is school-spirit oriented: Tiger golds and Tiger blacks in rugs, decorations, accessories, etc. Kennedy said he quit using the laundry when he found that he could get his clothes a lot cleaner at a laundromat two blocks away, and that he "never did like black and gold."
Each apartment is furnished, and includes a bath and a kitchenette. On some nights, Kennedy said, the smells of various ethnic dishes—curry, collard greens—mingle in the halls. Sometimes it is not the cooking alone. Sometimes, he says, you can get a high "just walking down the hall."
Many of the doors on the second floor are padlocked. Outside No. 124 there is a message scratched in the wall in a girl's handwriting: "Came by to see you but you weren't here—as usual. DZ." One-twenty-four is home for Danny Van Rheen, a 6'6" forward from Houston; for Scott Sims, a 6'1" guard from Kirkville, Mo.; for Kim Anderson, a 6'8" forward from Sedalia, Mo.; and for Jim Kennedy. All have been starters except Van Rheen, who is a confirmed substitute. All are juniors. All are on full scholarship. None is a zealous housekeeper.
A glowing Pabst Beer sign on one wall illuminates discarded shoes and articles of clothing, a scattering (or a collection) of empty beer cans and, in the kitchen alcove, a trash can in perpetual overflow.
Kennedy and Van Rheen are roommates, protruding from beds that are 6'2" long. Van Rheen has a quick, toothy smile and expressive eyebrows and is regarded as a botanical genius for keeping three house plants alive in a room in which interest in the environment is otherwise expressed exclusively in wall posters (a landscape, a seascape). The dressers and nightstands are littered with empty ice-milk cartons, soft-cover books by Daniel Defoe and John Wooden, throat lozenges, a can of auto touch-up paint, a tube of Preparation H, a half-empty bottle of Michelob, a Panasonic radio on top of an Emerson radio and a Wolfman mask draped over a desk lamp. An action photo of Bruce Lee in a stance suggesting imminent havoc faces the window on which a yellow-paper sign reads: "Up your binky with a chocolate winky."