How We Met
George and I met during the fall semester of our freshman year at the University of Iowa. George was on the football team and I was on the women’s basketball team. We both lived in the same dormitory, where most of the athletes lived. We had a good core group of friends who seemed to always have a class or study hall together. I met George through mutual friends, and I initially kept our relationship in the friend zone. George still remembers the first time he saw me walking from the dorm to my moped. (You can catch that humorous conversation in our proposal video on our YouTube channel.) The first time we spoke was in that same moped parking lot, he jokingly said to me “nice helmet.” It was a bright pink motorcycle helmet, and I rocked it.
I replied “thanks! we have to wear them for basketball,” then I drove off with a smirk. From that day forward, he made it a point to work himself out of the “friend zone,” an effort that took nearly 8 months before I finally gave in to his charm. Somehow during the chase, he would always end up in the exact same room, class, or study hall as me at the exact same time. I’ll never understand how he managed to do that for an entire school year, but I’m thankful he did! The rest is history and 6 years later we’re engaged, living in California, he’s playing football in the NFL, we have a puppy and we’re planning a wedding. Life is pretty dang good!
how they asked
Proposal story August 10th, 2018- George and I were just starting our second NFL season together in San Jose. One night he came home and said that we had been asked to shoot an interview for a media piece on “Couples in the NFL.” His 49er media staff would be shooting all of the footage and following us around for candid moments. I’m always game for a photo shoot, so I thought it was an awesome idea! Plus, his family was in Cali for one of his pre-season games, so I thought perhaps they could get in on some photos too.
Our plans changed a bit when George hurt his shoulder in the game the night before our scheduled shoot. That meant he had to stick around the facility for extra rehab and treatment the next day, so I thought we would just push the whole thing back to a later date. He was texting me from the facility and frantically trying to make a new plan, that is when I started to get a bit suspicious of the “photo shoot”. He was trying so hard to make it work as normally scheduled, and all I kept saying was “babe it’s okay we don’t have to do it, we can wait until next week or when you’re feeling better”. But, he insisted that we go to Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz for the photos and then we’d knock the interview portion out later. When I got off the call with him, his mom, Jan, could tell I was a little suspicious of something.
As I was getting ready, she came into the room and said: “Claire, I know you might be thinking that he’s going to propose, but I know for a fact that he isn’t because the ring isn’t ready yet.” When she told me this I was instantly sad and a little disappointed. I thought this would be the most opportune time for him to do it. Once I got over the initial let down, I just dropped the idea altogether. After all, Jan isn’t one to play a joke about something like that, so I thought there’s no way he’s doing it. Keep in mind the reason for my anticipation was that, 6 months earlier, George told me he was planning on proposing before his season started. At this point’ it was already August and pre-season had begun, so now each time we dressed up and went somewhere I thought ‘okay, this is it’!
When we arrived at the beach there was an entourage of photographers, video cameras, a drone and a lighting crew all from the 49ers media staff. They started by taking a few shots of us standing and holding a football. I remember saying to George, “let’s play catch!” his response was “I don’t want to play catch.” I was taken aback because he’s always so fun and playful. He also kept trying to stand behind me and keep his hands in his pockets. But, never for a minute did I think it was because he was about to propose. I just thought he didn’t really know what to do in front of all the cameras.
We messed around for about 15 minutes and then the photographer asked me to face the ocean because the breeze was hitting my hair just right – I fell for it.
Everyone was talking to me and getting me into the correct position. George’s mom and sister kept yelling at me, which made me laugh and ultimately distracted me from the time it was taking George to get down on one knee behind me. The photographer finally said, “now I want you to turn around and face George.” So, I turn around and there he is…
Down on one knee and looking as handsome as ever! I had the biggest smile on my face and I literally couldn’t believe what was happening! Then, he said, “Claire bear, I think it’s been long enough, will you marry me?” It was such a George thing to say, and it was absolutely perfect! I was so giddy that I couldn’t even speak. I did eventually manage to say YES!
I think the whole photo shoot captured our unique personalities and depicted our relationship accurately. He absolutely knocked it out of the park and went above and beyond any expectations I ever had.
Later, I found out that all of the time he was spending at the facility” doing rehab”, he was actually making a video for me to watch after he proposed. The video captured his expression as he saw the ring for the first time. He was also very sweet in telling our story and sharing how he felt about me. Most people don’t get to see the sensitive side of George because of his career, but I am so happy that we will forever have the video and photos that captured the happiest moment of our lives (so far).