How We Met
Braxton and I met about six years ago while we were both still in college. Truthfully, we met at a Lil’ Wayne concert through mutual friends… we don’t always tell a lot of people that part. At the time, he played Tight End for Duke Football and I went to school down the road at NC State University. We spent about a year being friends, but, secretly, I think I fell for him at day one. Our relationship started off passionate and fiery, involving me thrusting my adopted dog into the hands of him and his college roommates, and his 6’5” self making his way into the hearts of my entire family. Braxton graduated from Duke after playing football for six years due to multiple injuries, and went on to briefly play for the Carolina Panthers. We have settled in Durham, North Carolina, and six years later, here we are with two dogs and 11 months away from a wedding.
how they asked
A few weeks prior to a huge rival game in college sports, Braxton let me know that he got us on-field passes to the UNC versus Duke Football game on Thursday night. It was a big deal (if you’re from the area.. you get the rivalry), and a lot of his old teammates mentioned they were coming into town. My friends even got tickets for the game and Braxton made a big deal about setting up a tailgate before the game. Now, if you’ve ever been to a Duke football game, you will know there’s not a whole lot of tailgating taking place. Nonetheless, I prepared food, drinks, and of course, corn hole, and we made a whole day of it, getting ready for the big game. Braxton even went to the book store and bought himself a new Duke polo. At the tailgate, we had a few friends show up a the sun was setting and we were enjoying the food, drinks, and games before going into the stadium. Braxton mentioned he was going to pick up some friends on campus who were going to come to the tailgate and didn’t have a ride. As he left, I was rummaging in the back seat of the truck and saw a bag with two pairs of sneakers in it- a pair of pink leopard Nike’s for me, and a pair of Blue Nike’s for him. Confused, I looked at our friends at the tailgate and asked how they got there (as it wasn’t our truck) and why they were there… Someone blurted out, “You’re doing the Pass, Punt, Kick contest during halftime, don’t you know??”.
My nerves were SHOT as I realized I would have to punt a football (you’re lookin’ at a girl wearing knee high, high-heeled boots) during halftime in the middle of a stadium. Braxton took a while in getting back, and once arrived, it was about time to go into the stadium. I took his hand and said “I know your secret”. Without making a face, he calmly said, “Oh yeah?” and that was the end of the conversation.
At halftime, the field crew herded us onto the field (i forewent the pink leopard sneakers) and the announcer began describing the contest. Braxton was calm, cool, and collected. As it came time to punt, I embarrassingly kicked the ball about five yards to the left.
Braxton then threw the ball all the way down field, and in dramatic fashion, made the field goal! The crowd went wild. The announcer in the press box said, “Now, Maddie, we want to make sure you go home a winner tonight.” Eagerly, I turned to the crowd with my hands up, pretty sure I was going to get a coupon for free cheese fries. To my complete surprise, Braxton took me by the hand and brought me to center field. Before I realized what was happening, the crowd was roaring and Train’s “Marry Me” was playing through the jumbotron. Braxton got down and one knee, and truthfully, we both can’t remember what we were talking about down there.. but I said yes. The boy even paid the fire marshall to be there for fireworks. The jumbotron proceeded to flash “SHE SAID YES” and of course, my ugly cry face, and as we walked off the field, our entire family snuck down from the stands to greet us on the sideline. Safe to say, it was the most unbelievable night of my life.