Claire and Dakota

How We Met

Fitting with how he proposed, Dakota and I met at a football game. I was raised by a football coach and it’s in my blood. When I was in college, I always went to the local football games after a rough week. I had spent every fall Friday at a game since I was a baby; it was my safe place where things made sense. It was warm and I spent halftime in a ridiculous concession stand line for a drink, wearing a Bridgewater College Football shirt. I told you it’s in my blood, I filmed and managed equipment for the team. This random guy behind me recognized it as more than just a bookstore shirt and asked me about the team this year. He told me how before he hurt his knee he was going to play for them.We continued our conversation until we got up to the counter and then we went our separate ways. I thought this was the end of it until after the game I ran back into him on the way back to my car. Looking like he had never done something so crazy, he asked for my number, and I have no idea why, but something told me to do it. So I did, and he texted me later that night and it’s been history ever since. We went on a date that next week and 3.5 years later we’re less than 2 months away from our wedding!

I think the craziest part about us meeting there that night was that had he stayed at Bridgewater, we could have met two years earlier. It’s like fate put us on a path, and when one of us left that path, it made a new one for us. I wasn’t even going to pick Bridgewater until I was offered the position working with football. We had a hundred things pushing for us to be together.

How He Asked

Dakota and I share a mutual love, or obsession, with sports. We both work with Park View High School’s football and basketball teams. Dakota is in his element when he coaches, and I will put in whatever hours I have to if it means I get to spend time with him doing what he absolutely loves. These teams are our second family and they mean the world to us. I had absolutely no idea, but he pulled in 50 teenagers, and an entire school community to make this proposal happen. Almost every last person in that stadium (and in town, they talked about it happening on the radio broadcast!!) knew what was going to happen, and I was in the dark. After a devastating loss, instead of heading back to the locker room the team came back and kneeled around me. I started getting suspicious and then the cheerleaders come running out with a banner and when they unrolled it and I read “Will you marry me?” I lost it. Another coach turned me around and there was Dakota, down on one knee. I’m not sure either one of us could say anything and I just did a lot of crying and nodding and that was good enough for everyone around us.

The team was so excited to get to share this moment with us, and they dumped the water cooler over their Coach Mitchell’s head (thankfully, just his!). He had called my best friend who came into town for it, and both of our parents were there. I got to be surrounded by everyone who meant everything to me in one of the most important moments of my life, and I can never thank him enough for making that possible. No matter what the result of that game was, I won big that night! Our head football coach is even going to be marrying us. The team is treating our wedding like the event of the season, and I’m just so glad my two great loves, Dakota and sports, get to play such a huge part in our lives every day. And not every girl gets her engagement announcement on the sports page!

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