I wrote this column in the Stanford Daily during my junior year about my then-roommate Jarron Collins and his brother Jason. I thought about it last night as I watched the the Warriors celebrate the NBA championship.
The twins — until about 15 months ago, they were the only set of twins I knew well — have had a pretty good run the last few years. Jason changed the world. Jarron, in his first year as a coach, helped lead one of the best teams in NBA history.
My boys have two big role models to look up to.
“The Odd Couple”
The first day of Orientation freshman year seems a blur of new faces, new acronyms and very new dreadlocked RA’s who mysteriously knew my name the moment I stepped wide-eyed into the pandemonium of Alondra move-in.
But one memory that stands out among the rest and will be with me for many years to come was the moment I met my roommate. Trudging up to my door with suitcases in hand and my mom in tow, I craned my neck to read the name next to mine on my door — the name of the roommate I would spend the next year with. Being a sports nut, you can imagine the excitement when I read off the name of one of Stanford’s most prized athletic recruits.
Little did I know that this excitement could, in no way. prepare me for the shock that was to come. The first ones to arrive at my room, my mom and I set to work putting clothes on hangars and sheets on the bed. That’s when my roommate’s parents, both over six feet tall, came walking into the room, followed by my 6-foot, 9-inch roommate and then his 6–10 twin brother. (An important aside here. I am, in no way, the tallest person in the world, measuring in at let’s just say a few inches shy of six feet. My mom, on the other hand, is a few inches shy of five feet.)
All of a sudden, that seemingly spacious Alondra double got just a tad bit smaller. It was like being a Liliputian trapped in the land of the Amazon people (never mind the fact that our room was book-ended by the rooms of a member of the women’s volleyball team at 6–3 and a member of the men’s volleyball team at 6–4). My mom spent the entire afternoon with her neck craned, talking to my roommate and his family. I have a feeling she needed a visit to the chiropractor to have her neck realigned by the time she got back to Texas.
Despite the obvious physical dissimilarities, Jarron Collins, my roommate, and I became good friends over the course of the year and have stayed together into what is now our junior year.
A great example of the differences between us was the configuration of our room freshman year. Above our closets near the ceiling was a shelf that I used to store boxes and my suitcase — items I wouldn’t need on a daily basis. Jarron kept his shoes, toothbrush and cologne in that same spot.
I have, of course, endured the ribbing from friends at Stanford and elsewhere about the slight difference in size between the two of us.
It’s just not every day that you see people of such diametrically opposed heights in the same frame — Jarron and Jason don’t seem near as tall standing on the basketball court next to Tim Young and Mark Madsen.
The Parents’ Weekend dinners with our respective families are always quality comedy. Last year, the whole dining crowd at McArthur Park seemed to turn their heads and chuckle in unison when my mom hugged Jason goodbye, somewhere between his hip and his knee.
I find myself constantly fighting an uphill battle against the great exaggerations in Jarron and my heights.
Even the folks at Stanford Magazine couldn’t quite get the height difference right. This summer they ran an extensive feature on the recent success of Stanford athletics. One section of the story centered around the unique situation here at Stanford in which athletes are only a part of the group of amazingly talented students here on campus.
The author expounded on one roommate pairing, dubbed the “odd couple,” where the roommates were separated in height by an astounding 17 inches. Who could that be? You guessed it.
A good friend of mine and former Daily sports editor who was Jason Collins’ roommate for two years is noted in the article for his academic talents and high SAT scores. I called him after I saw a copy of the story and remarked, “great, I guess you’re the genius and I’m just the midget.”
The article was a great piece, but they missed one extremely important fact — Jarron and I are separated by only 13 inches. Jarron is 6-9 and I measure in at 5–8. Okay, really only 5–7, but 5–8 in the right shoes . . . with my hair sticking straight up.
Living with Jarron and Jason has definitely changed my perspective about just what exactly “tall” is. Before meeting the twins, I would have said someone 6–3 or 6–4 was definitely in the tall category. Now. it takes someone in the high six-foot range just to get my attention.
All joking aside, I feel living with Jarron has been one of the highlights of my time here at Stanford.
I cannot speak more highly of the university policy that does not separate athletes into special dorms cordoned off from the rest of the students. Stanford Magazine’s article was right on track in describing Stanford’s immensely talented athletes as just a part of the group of students here, all of whom bring some special attribute to the university community.
Talking with friends at other schools, many have never met a single varsity athlete. In just three years. I’ve had the opportunity to live with student-athletes who have starred on the collegiate playing fields, will certainly win Olympic medals in the years to come and may join the ranks of the professionals in their various sports.
For a sports enthusiast such as myself. I can only think of the joy that will come as I enjoy sporting events in the future with my children or grandchildren and can tell them of the times I spent with the very athletes they are watching compete. The midnight runs to Jack in the Box. The friendships. These are the things I will remember.