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Penland 214

On paper, it shouldn’t have gone well – a small-town preacher’s kid and a city boy with an admitted wild streak. Against all odds, it has created a life-long friendship for Darrell Rollins (‘83) and Steve Reynolds (‘83). The potluck roommates first met in Penland 214 in the fall of 1979. Potluck may have created their friendship, but the bond they have formed by walking through the ups and downs of life together ever since has cemented the relationship. That, and their annual Duffers golf tournament.

“We were kind of oil and water,” Steve said. “But, actually, that turned out to be why we hit it off so well, because we were different.” Their antics and adventures started almost immediately. Their freshman year in Penland, the two decided Room 214 needed a pet. The room was already the biggest attraction on the second floor thanks to a handmade arbor laced with ivy, but the ante had to be upped. To add to the nature theme of the room, the pair purchased a gold fish and named her Railroad. Using macramé rope and netting, Railroad hung down from the arbor, floating in the middle of the room between the two beds.

The next year their friend group of six or so guys decided they were going to rush ATΩ, where they already had a few friends. They went through the whole process knowing they were only going to join if everyone in the group was accepted. The guys made sure the fraternity knew they were a packaged deal. When bid day came, the fraternity members split the friend group in half, telling both groups they had made it and the other group of three had not been chosen. Steve remembers the feeling of being incensed and chewing out the bearers of the “bad news.” When the six were reunited, they quickly realized they had been pranked.

Steve and Darrell, along with other friends from their hall in Penland that they had rushed with, lived together throughout college. Now that they lived off campus, the guys decided to upgrade their pet from a goldfish to a mouse named Bubbles that Steve had somehow procured.

As the new house mascot, Bubbles roamed freely around the house, and she would even sit on their shoulders as they watched television. Bubbles passed away over the summer, and instead of burying her right away, Darrell decided to freeze her until everyone was reunited in the fall and could give her a proper send off. The roommates and their girlfriends gathered along the Brazos and gave Bubbles a Viking burial.

“We thought it was kind of funny and a joke, but it turned oddly emotional because it summarized the end of a relationship [with Bubbles], and, while we were standing there, the end of our senior year,” said Darrell.

After leaving Baylor, the two knew they wanted to maintain their friendship. In 1985, Darrell and Steve, along with their friends Brad Lancaster and Randy Stevens, created their Duffers golf trip. Since then, the crew has played every year, taking turns choosing where the tournament will be played. They both admit that the round is typically sloppy, due to both playing in the winter and the skill of the golfers. The frequent libations prescribed by their lengthy rule book don’t help either. Besides the wacky rules that make the yearly trip entertaining, the stakes are raised by the winner getting to take home a trophy. They all also made sure the loser doesn’t go home empty-handed, though: they get a brick.

Both Darrell and Steve admit the tournament is goofy, but it has allowed them to maintain and even tighten their bond. What started as an obvious mismatch has turned into a relationship entering its fortieth year. Steve said it best: “Darrell and I were just blind luck.”

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