Abby and Rocco
How We Met: Rocco grew up in California and moved to my hometown in North Dakota, during my senior year in high school, to play his freshman year of hockey at UND. He shared his testimony (Christian faith story) that year at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) event at my high school. A life-long Sioux fan and a devout Christian, I thought it was awesome to see a solid Christian from the team speak so openly about his faith. Other than that, I didn’t think much of it and forgot about it.
That year, I decided to attend UND for college. I had been dreaming of attending a Christian university, yet felt I was supposed to go to UND, so I surprisingly ended up there. I hosted at Olive Garden the summer before college, and the weekend before classes started, Rocco, his mom, and a roommate came in close to closing time. I recognized him right away, so I asked if he was a hockey player.
He thought I was about 23, 5 years older than I was thanks to our funny ties and old work uniforms, and also thought I was probably just another hockey-player-crazed student. I told him I’d heard his testimony at the FCA event and ended up talking with him and his mom for a while before they headed out. From there, we got to know each other through a campus ministry and eventually ended up dating months later; the first relationship for both of us. :)
How He Asked: We’ve been long distance since he went pro and have been thrilled to get married and end the long distance days. I’ll be graduating from UND in the spring, and he knew I wanted about a year to plan all of the wedding details. I knew he would probably propose in July and knew that if he didn’t ask while I was visiting his family in CA early that month, it would have to be when he visited mine in ND. That left about a 10-day time frame, and I knew he was going to have to be reallllly sneaky to make it a surprise.
The day before he asked (I had to no idea), he told me he would be helping out at an FCA youth hockey camp in CA for the weekend. I then assumed he would come the following week, so a proposal was totally off my radar. (He was in ND staying with a future groomsman while he told me this…sneaky!) He called me the next morning “on the way to the rink” and told me to check my mailbox. Inside was a letter with his handwriting and no postage on it in the mailbox, so I knew what was up!
The letter told me to get ready for the day, take my time, and enjoy each the scavenger hunt he’d set up. It told me where the first clue was, so after I got ready, I was off! There were 8 spots, and at each spot was an envelop. (…taped down with hockey tape haha. What else would he use?) Each envelop each had a funny, sweet letter, a photo with a memory on the back, and a clue to the next spot. He had me send selfies at each spot, so he could keeps tabs on the timing.
The final place was a Japanese Garden with arrows leading to him. Once I got to a path enclosed my trees, there were posters with numbers of the date, made as collages of pictures of us. (His hockey number is 23, so I should’ve known!) I passed by 7…23…15…and then there was a vase of pink roses, the box for the ring, and a red carpet. I could hear a photographer (the one I wanted!) in the background and Rocco finally came out.
I squished him with a hug and followed him to the red carpet. He read a witty poem, similar to the ones he’d written for other special occasions, and ended by proposing.
I kept nodding until he reminded me that I hadn’t actually said yes.
Haha. After, we freaked out, had a quick photo shoot, and spread the news. Best. Proposal. Ever.
Photos by: Stacey Rygh