from bowling green to tuscaloosa to orlando to
Chiefs Kingdom – here we come!
Y’all, wow. Where do I even begin? Let me start this off by saying April 2017 was probably the most grueling month of my entire life! Gehrig & I began draft weekend with one final dinner at our favorite little Italian joint in Tuscaloosa. The months/weeks/days leading up to the draft were hell – I think I slept like two hours every night. (oh, and we were nursing our sweet Lou bear back to health after surgery – rough week) I couldn’t focus on anything besides the impending program that would inevitably change our lives forever.
The weirdest thing happened though – during that dinner, I embraced everything. My sparkling glass of moscato d’asti, the sweet pomodoro sauce, the stuffed mushrooms, the love of my life sitting across from me, the heat of early spring in Alabama – it was like we pressed pause for a second. We even stopped by a little froyo shop and watched boats float through the Black Warrior river (which is exactly how we started our Alabama journey!) For a few hours, the final hours, I finally felt calm.
The first night unfolded and we were glued to the TV as G’s teammates were picked up by successful teams. Day two followed and it felt like an eternity of Eagles fans booing Goodell; every time that little jingle played, signaling a team had secured their pick, a prickle shot down my back and my heart thumped so hard I swear I could see it.
The Browns Select…
The Panthers Select…
The Packers select…
Day two wrapped up.
We knew that G’s chances of getting drafted were highest on day 3, so we slept (terribly, rolling over every five minutes – like on Christmas Eve) My knuckles were sore from cracking them, I was giving myself a fat lip from biting on it – I’ve never wanted to get through a weekend so fast in my life. We just sat in silence as athlete after athlete was called – while we waited for the call.
The call came – seconds after the draft ended.
I couldn’t help it, I was sobbing – I tried so hard to be strong for my fiancé. I was crying and he was consoling me (*insert Eagles fans booing*) I was heartbroken over the fact that I witnessed G work harder than anyone in the world and it wasn’t recognized or rewarded.
Move across the country for football. Skip out on the “fun” of college for football. Bleed for football. Fracture bones for football. Reroute our daily lives for football. Commit to uprooting our family for football. And the NFL was gonna overlook him? Yeah – that’ll break your heart.
I sulked into the guest bedroom to call my parents and discuss everything. I heard him pick up the phone and knew he’d be getting invitations to rookie mini camps. The light at the end of the tunnel came while I was sniffling and carrying on in the bathroom – within minutes of the draft ending, multiple teams called offering to sign him as an undrafted free agent, and he signed with a team who has been there all along:
When I heard the news, I literally jumped onto him. The emotional roller coaster was flying past the big scary hill and we were halfway to the end, finally, with a plan in sight and a contract to sign.
We celebrated with sushi (a variety of red + yellow rolls, in honor of our new colors) and the moving out process began. G headed off to Kansas City for his first camp, came home and we loaded up our entire apartment. Now, I’m writing this from my bedroom at home in Cleveland, OH while he rests after a week of training with the Chiefs!
He’s signed throughout the summer and I have no doubt that he will be suiting up on Sundays. Life is still up in the air, nothing is set in stone (when is it, anyways?) but we have some sort of idea of where to go from here. I’ll visit him in the next few weeks, we’ll look at potential houses and scout out the next chapter together.
In the desperation and disappointment of that one weekend in April, I remember throwing my hands up at G and asking him why it was never easy. He does everything he’s supposed to, follows rules, goes above and beyond to be the best receiver he can be, why does he have to prove himself again, why do we have to go through this waiting process again?!
“because we’re grinders. we work the hardest for what we want.”
That’s what he said and I fell in love with him even a little bit more. I’m so thankful that guy is my fiancé and while life is this wild, unexpected roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, that guy is my riding partner and we get to hold hands through the whole thing.