How We Met
In 2012, Austin and I were both Freshmen at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Our story starts out pretty cliche – the quarterback falls for the cheerleader, but she played hard to get. We initially met at an event the football team was hosting called “Dream Season.” It was a football camp for community members with special needs. The Purdue Football Team ran the drills and the Purdue Golduster Dance Team performed and cheered on the participants. I will never forget talking to Austin on the way out of Mollenkopf Athletic Center that day – he was cute and seemed nice, but being a football player (let alone a quarterback!), I assumed he was bad news. The next day, he slid into my DMs on Facebook and I ignored him…and continued to ignore him on multiple occasions after the fact.
Fast forward to football season 2013 – Austin continued to make his presence known. Every game day, I would perform with the Goldusters on the sidelines and look forward to the moments that Austin and I would make eye contact. He would always greet me with a smile and a wink. (Way to keep your head in the game, honey!) But still, he was the quarterback, so I was convinced that he MUST BE bad news. However, I happily accepted the attention and looked forward to his smiles and winks for both the 2013 and 2014 football seasons.
In the summer of 2015, my best friend, Bailey, told me that she thought Austin was cute, so the good friend that I am, I told her I would happily hook her up with him since Austin and I were “friends.” I started to get the conversation rolling with Austin over Snapchat – whenever I mentioned Bailey, he brushed it off. After a long series of Snapchats, my plan to hook Austin and Bailey up totally backfired and instead, I ended up with a date with the bad news football player! I told Bailey I was sorry, but couldn’t miss out on the great story I would have to tell my grandkids: “The time I went on a date with the Purdue quarterback.” After all, it was just going to be a free meal and a great story and that was it!
The night of our dinner date arrived and I was surprisingly nervous. Was he going to be full of himself? Was he going to be conversational? Did he have good intentions? To my surprise, Austin took me to one of the nicest restaurants in town and was such a gentleman! Every assumption I made about him couldn’t have been more wrong – he was incredibly down-to-earth, had a huge heart, was strong in his faith, and was a great listener (thank you, babe, for not being scared of me as I know that I talked a mile a minute). It’s crazy how your gut feelings and reactions always know best – it was on this very date that I knew the man sitting across from me was far from bad news, but instead, I was looking at my future husband.
And what a wild ride it has been! Austin transferred to the University of Florida in the spring of 2016. We continued our long-distance relationship for four years strong, as I built my foundation in Indianapolis as an NFL Cheerleader and started my own career while Austin pursued his dreams of having a professional football career. It was this past summer (June 2020), that after thousands of miles traveled and far too many FaceTime dates, we were finally able to make our home together in Springfield, Missouri, where Austin is currently a coach for the Missouri State Football Team. Our relationship started as one big adventure and I couldn’t be more excited to see where the journey will continue to lead us.
How They Asked
Austin and my favorite place to travel to is Bonita Springs, Florida. Whenever we have a chance to get away, we love heading down south. Austin’s entire family got together in Florida for the holidays. Family is very important to both of us, so I was hoping that our engagement would involve our loved ones.
On December 30, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was engagement day. I could sense that Austin was nervous – he even told me later on that it felt like game day! I knew we had plans to watch the sunset and have dinner in Naples with the family that night but had no idea what to expect OR if my suspicions were correct.
One of our favorite things to do in Florida is going to the beach for sunset. Our sunset walk on December 30 couldn’t have been more special. Rather than driving to our usual beach, we took a trip out to Naples to watch the sunset at Edgewater Beach Hotel. Edgewater has a special place in our hearts because a few years ago, it was where we had one of our very favorite beach dates ever.
Austin, his brother, his brother’s girlfriend, and I arrived at Edgewater to meet up with Austin’s parents. Shortly after we got there, we went on our beach walk to catch the sunset. At one point down the beach, we stopped to take a picture, and off in the distance, I saw a sign hanging on tiki torches that said “Will you marry me?” I looked up at Austin and I said, “It looks like it must be someone’s lucky day!” He looked back at me and said, “Well, let’s go take a closer look.” As we walked closer, I couldn’t help but say “I hope it is MY lucky day” and IT WAS.
When Austin got on a knee, we were practically the same height – all I remember is getting to stare directly into his eyes and say the easiest YES I have ever had to say. We still don’t know exactly what he said to me because we both “blacked out” at that moment – for all I know, I had just agreed to a weekend golf trip rather than an engagement. ;)
THE BEST PART: As I hugged my new fiance, there was a roar of applause! There had been an audience watching on the beach, on balconies, and on the resort surrounding us. At that moment of the proposal, I had completely forgotten about the world around us – it was just me and him. Hearing the applause made us feel so loved and supported from the very second our next chapter began.
The celebration continued with my favorite champagne on the beach, a candlelit dinner in Naples with a beautiful bouquet of roses, chocolate cake with sparklers, AND presents – all coordinated by Austin, his mom, and his brother’s girlfriend. I couldn’t be more thankful for the most special day and the start to a beautiful forever!