Golden roommates

Kurt Snyder

Three athletes have perfect living arrangements

Three’s company. Derrick Bush (left), junior criminal justice major and football player; Carrie Rupp (center), junior public relations major and field hockey player; and Anne Butts (right), junior physical education and sports management double major and

Credit: Kurt Snyder

Roommates Carrie Rupp and Derrick Bush huddle up with guest Carli Figlio under a blanket on the house couch.

It is an appropriate way to spend a cold, snowy Saturday in January. Rupp and Figlio have already shoveled the small driveway. The football-playing Bush at least carried out the salt for the field hockey teammates.

The calm atmosphere in the three-bedroom house just off campus is a far cry from the fall when Rupp, Bush and Anne Butts, the third roommate and a volleyball player, are in season.

“I truly think that fall semester is the hardest because we are all riding that line of, ‘Oh my gosh, if someone pushes me again, I’m going to flip out,’” Butts said. “But we were best friends when we were in the dorms. We all know each other so well.”

And best friends the roommates have stayed since moving in together during the summer.

Rupp, Daily Kent Stater Greek life reporter, and Butts lived together in the residence halls each of their first two years and immediately met Bush when the three would eat in the Prentice Cafeteria. The three connected immediately and have remained close ever since. Living with girls is nothing new for Bush either. He has three sisters.

“It’s perfect,” Bush said.

Rupp said living with athletes allows her to better concentrate on her priorities. She said rest and studying rank above partying.

“It keeps me on track,” she said. “I don’t have as many temptations.”

Butts said her roommates are a support group. She said she could not really imagine living with anyone else.

“Many times people always laugh when I go home and I am working out over break, they are like, ‘Take a break,’” Butts said. “It’s a whole different world. If you think about it, take six hours out of your day and then try to function — still be required to be at every single class, keep up with those, leave on Thursdays and make up all of your work. Get up at 6:30 and work out. I think it would be very difficult.”

As similar as all three are — all athletes, all juniors — personalities are strikingly opposite.

“I’m pretty laid-back,” Rupp said. “(Butts) is more like the perfectionist, and she has to be on the go.”

Bush chimed in, “You are more outgoing, and she is not. That’s it.”

But where Bush fits into the mix is still up for discussion between the roommates.

“I’m in between,” he laughed.

“No, you’re not,” Rupp fired back. “Derrick knows every person on this campus; every person knows Derrick Bush.”

The three roommates also come from very different backgrounds. Rupp is from a small town in east central Pennsylvania. Bush is from the Deep South in Colquitt, Ga. Butts’ only connection to the South is her time living south of Chicago.

Rupp said her parents were not excited about the idea of her living with a male friend. But gradually, Rupp said they warmed to the idea. She said her father even began to like the idea of the football team protecting his daughter.

“It’s a huge difference between living with your boyfriend and a guy friend,” she said.

The connection among the players has brought families together as well. When one family visits, it is a holiday in the house. The players attend each other’s games and go out to eat with families afterward.

They sometimes even share a homemade dinner.

“One of my favorite times was when Derrick’s family came to visit and his mom cooked us a big Southern meal with cornbread, … and collard greens, and I ate everything,” Rupp said. “I had never eaten half of it before.”

The extended families exchange holiday cards and argue about football as Bush likes to do with Rupp’s grandmother.

Butts said all three families prioritize athletics, academics and family as most important.

“Everything else takes a backseat,” Butts said of when family visits. “You have someone to talk to, and you can get a hug. It’s like we have three moms.”

The roommates’ time is limited in the fall, but they still spend time together. Bush said family time is a must whether it is eating dinner together, watching movies or blowing off steam. Occasionally impromptu tutoring sessions begin when Rupp helps Bush with his Spanish class.

But family time is not limited to roommates. The house is a revolving door of teammates.

Bush’s teammate and former roommate Najah Pruden has been known to spend afternoons sleeping on the couch. Rupp said he is the fourth roommate.

“They are close friends,” Pruden said. “They are people I hung out with a lot my freshman year.”

All three athletes had their share of adversity last fall. Rupp’s field hockey team lost close games. Butts’ volleyball team lost matches in the fifth game, and Bush’s football team had losses bordering on the bizarre.

Butts said the football team’s loss to Akron in September was particularly hard on Bush.

“We started to give him crap right away, and he just gave us that look,” Butts said. “And we were like, ‘OK, that’s enough of that.’”

Bush said he prefers to spend time alone. Butts said she likes to be alone as well but knows Rupp needs the comfort.

“Carrie and Derrick know that when I come in and slam my door, I just need time alone, and they don’t press,” she said. “And the same thing with Carrie, I know that when she has a bad practice, I need to be in her room with her, sitting with her, letting her vent.”

Figlio said the house is a release from everyday stress for everyone.

“It’s relaxed and laid back,” Figlio said. “You know you are going to laugh. If you’re in a bad mood, you can come over, and you know you are going to be all right.”

Contact managing editor Kurt Snyder at [email protected].