A Thank You to My Valentine

TAGS: coach's wife, how i met my wife, story, happy valentines day, Don Day, Donald Day, letter, valentines, collegiate football, valentine's day, training college athletes, gift, coaching, Sports Training, training

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This is my attempt to do something special for my wife. I’m going to let you know right now this has absolutely nothing to do with reps, sets, or percentages, so I may lose some of you who are just looking to build a bigger bench press through elitefts. Sorry not sorry? Here it goes.

Now, the beginning of our relationship has been a little blurred due to circumstances, memory loss, and intoxication, but I’m going to try to remember this the best I can. It was sometime around 2012 or 2013 when I met my wife. We met during one of my visits to Athens, Ohio. My friends were dating some of her friends, so by the law of attraction, she was immediately attracted to me when we met at a little social gathering at one of my friend’s girlfriend’s houses.


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I can’t remember what I did or said, but it must have not made that much of an impression because I didn’t hear from her until about August or September of 2013 (about six or seven months later). We started reconnecting and chatting through text a little bit.

Eventually, we set up a date over Thanksgiving break. For our first romantic date, we went to eat at Swenson’s, a local drive-through, then to a bar to watch a Cavs game, and then to the valley bars. There we drank to the point of obliteration and went back to my place. I literally never thought I would see her again after that next morning. But to my surprise, she decided to stay in touch with me!

So fast-forward a few months, and we’re steadily dating. I remember I had asked her out during some probably corny sci-fi movie on Netflix. I believe what I said was something like, “Uhh, hey do you want to be my girlfriend?”

And of course, she replied, “Yes,” because who could refuse such a romantic gesture?

So we’re dating, and I was a Graduate Assistant at Akron, and she’s coming to football games, hanging out with family, I was hanging out with her family, and that whole shebang. We started doing holidays at both family houses and such and such (young love).

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Then I tell her I’m moving to Pennsylvania. This was our first taste of long distance (a staggering hour and a half). During the entire six or seven months that I was living in Pennsylvania, she would drive to stay with me almost every weekend. Now I believe at this point, we had been dating two years. Naturally, the talks of marriage started happening. I figured, hey, if we’re going to get married, we should get your ring finger sized. Oh, boy.

We went to Kay Jewelers one afternoon to get her ring finger sized, and I almost had a panic attack. The ladies at the jewelry store were like ravenous vultures. They started attacking me in a group of three, asking me all these questions, talking about pricing, and trying to make a sale like their lives depended on it. I had to step out of the store because I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I was not ready at all for this. So there were no talks about marriage for a long time after that.

Fast-forward to winter 2016, and I had told my girlfriend I was on the move again, and this time, to Washington, D.C. I wasn’t getting paid much, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and I was absolutely miserable. On top of that, I wasn’t able to see my girlfriend like I had wanted to. She was far away. She came up, I believe, one weekend the entire time I was there. Something needed to change. This was definitely what I would call the rocky part of our relationship. So what changed? I got another job! This time it was in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

I was in Bowling Green, back with football only and loving life. Her graduation was coming up (something that I had already been OK’d to go to). I’ll never forget when I went up to my boss and reminded him I would be missing a day. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Are you going to marry this girl?”

Without a second thought, almost out of pure instinct, I said, “Yes, coach.”

And that was when I finally started thinking seriously about getting married.

Now fast-forward to late 2016; I was recovering from a concussion that rocked my world (I know, I know). I told my boss I was fine to come back to work (lies), and I was driving into work when suddenly, I failed to make a turn I had made 10,000 times before. I totaled the wheel shaft of my car. Now what made this terrible wasn’t the fact I needed to pay a ton of money to get it fixed. What made it terrible was that all the money I had been saving up to buy a wedding ring was going to go into paying off this accident. I was devastated. But not as devastated as I would be in a month or so.

In the winter of 2016, I was living in my girlfriend’s parents’ house. I was out of a job. I had no clue what I was going to do other than find another job. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who went to Purdue with the rest of the staff. What I did have in my back pocket was an offer from Kent State and interviews for a few other jobs. So let’s leap ahead to my interview at Buffalo.

I immediately got offered the job but was hesitant to take it. I had given my word to Kent that I was going to go. Heck, Monday I was supposed to be starting work, and it was Saturday. I called the team pastor (who’s now at Purdue) and asked, “What should I do, Sean?”

He laid it to me very simple:

“Do you want to marry Brianna?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Sean continued: "Then you need to take Buffalo because it gives you the money to do so.”

“OK,” I said.

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So it was March in Buffalo, and I had the wedding ring in my pocket. She got off work in Cleveland and drove to our apartment in Buffalo (still doing long distance). We headed to Niagara Falls since, you know, we'd never been. We got there, and I was a nervous wreck. I tried to decide how or where to propose. I made no plans. I had just gotten talked out of doing the “What’s behind your ear?” gag five hours ago by my best friends. So we walked until I found a place that I deemed quality enough to propose at. There were a couple with their kids taking pictures, and I told my girlfriend, “Hey, let’s get this guy to take a picture of us,” to which she adamantly refused. I eventually convinced her it was OK, and I approached the man. I went up to him and said, “Hey, I’m about to propose. Will you take a ton of pictures?”

I went up to her and got on one knee and did the deed. When I asked, “Will you marry me?” she responded in her Cleveland manner of speech: “Shut the F*&k up!!” before eventually saying yes. We kissed! It’s beautiful, yay!!!

It’s winter in Buffalo, which was the most depressing time/place/everything. I was drinking Knob Creek to drown my pains on a Tuesday, explaining to a player what time he has to lift while my fiancée was wedding planning. I was not a director and I was making more money than I know what to do with. I told her to buy whatever she wanted.

We’re living together in a basement apartment, snowed in, in Buffalo. The pressure of being a director was definitely weighing me down. Sure, we have money and nice things, but those don’t buy happiness. I was missing something. I needed to leave this place and reset. But I also needed to pay off my wedding before I left.

She was by my side, though. My perfect coach’s wife. She went to events with me, made cookies for my players, and helped me pick outfits for away games. She’s perfect like that. She knew the game of director’s fiancée and played it very well.

Now it’s our wedding day. I’ve up and moved my wife to South Georgia. I left Buffalo for much warmer weather.

I know everyone says their wedding day is perfect and beautiful, but my wedding day was. There’s not a day that I could ever replace that day with. She looked beautiful. I mean, boy, did she look good. We were surrounded by our family and friends who were all there to celebrate our union.

And when the reception was over, the party got turnt!!!! There were very few males with their shirts on. We danced and danced hard. It looked like a Harlem night club. Then we went back to the hotel and partied some more. It was amazing.

So that’s the story — or part of it. We’re still continuing our story. We have a new member of the family now: Fritz Day, our German Shepherd, along with Guinness, our 11-year-old Lab. We’re working through this coach lifestyle and thriving in our marriage. I’ve become a Christian, and she’s been right there beside me through all of it. This winter was a hard one for me, but she’s been a supportive and amazing wife. She is truly a godsend. When I have bad days at work, she’s there to support me. When we go to events, she is right next to me. She is not just the perfect coach’s wife, but the perfect wife, woman, and person I could ever dream of. I forget what movie this is from, but there’s a quote:

You’re better than the woman of my dreams. You’re real.

And that’s exactly how I feel about her.

Brianna Day, I thank you for putting up with all the moves, all the trials, tribulations, and all of the crap your husband takes. I know it’s not always easy for you to see the things that happen, but I love you for supporting me through it. You are my all and everything, and I love you for it. Fritz, Guinness, and I are lucky to have such an amazing woman in our lives.

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