We absolutely love meeting with newly engaged couples. It is such a special and exciting time in their lives. We remember it fondly. The giddiness of showing off that engagement ring. Looking down at your finger (what seems like) every five seconds because sparkly (ok this was Ashley, not so much Troy). It’s so magical! One of our favorite parts about these meetings is hearing their story. How they met. How they fell in love. How he popped the question. Every story is unique. That’s the fun part! And when they’ve finished their story our couples always ask, “What about you? How did you meet?”
With our tenth wedding anniversary just around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect time to share our unique story with you!
Our story begins (though we wouldn’t know it for a couple of years) the spring of 2002 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The NCA Collegiate Cheer & Dance National Championships were upon us and it was our first year attending. We had been practicing all year. Nights. Weekends. Two-a-days. We were ready. But here’s the thing — we were not attending together. We were attending as rivals.
You see, co-ed competition cheerleading is what brought us together. As kids, we grew up in completely different places. Ashley was born in Montana; Troy in Minnesota (we of course needed to include baby photos in this post. This one of Ashley is Troy’s favorite of her as a child). Ashley moved to Minnesota the year she turned 6, but we were still far enough away from each other that the chances of us meeting were slim.
In high school we were both involved in a lot of sports and activities. Ashley focused mainly on competition cheerleading and playing the bass drum in the Eastview High School drumline, while also trying her hand at other sports like soccer, track and gymnastics. Troy was one of those kids that was in everything — football, track, swimming, choir, BPA, FFA and playing the lead role in just about every musical theater production at Watertown Mayer High School. Even though we were both very involved, our schools were in completely different sports divisions — we had never even heard of each other’s high school!
Before we knew what hit us, it was time to head off to college. Ashley decided to pursue competitive cheerleading and spent all four years as a varsity co-ed competition cheerleader (yes, she was the one on the top the pyramid) at St. Cloud State University. Troy chose Minnesota State University, Mankato because well, college is what you do after high school. Although he was involved in just about everything in high school, he decided not to continue in college. Lucky for Troy, he was invited to attend cheerleading practice by a friend in the dorms and like they say, the rest is history.
So, back to Daytona Beach. The competition ended with St. Cloud placing 8th (making it to the final round of competition for the first time in the team’s history) and Mankato placing 6th. Traditionally, all the college cheerleaders gather on the lawn behind the Adam’s Mark hotel the day following the competition for what we call “Stuntfest” — a free for all where cheerleaders from all over the country spend the day stunting with people they’ve never met, showing off their best partner stunt skills and tumbling. Even though we were rivals, that didn’t matter at Stuntfest! We were there to have fun!
Through the sea of cheerleaders flying and spinning in the air, they saw each other. Ashley, wearing her brand new one shoulder, Hawaiian floral print swimsuit with her black Soffe shorts (rolled twice at the waist) and Troy, fresh off his stint of purple hair that had faded to a bright, bright blond, wearing his “stunt gloves” (which to normal people are just weight lifting gloves). Several glances were exchanged. Could it be love at first sight?
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we barely even remember seeing each other that day except for a few small details. Ashley remembers seeing Troy with his ridiculous polarized sunglasses and his almost white hair wearing his stunt gloves (which particularly stands out because St. Cloud made fun of Mankato for wearing them. Real cheerleaders don’t need stunt gloves). And what does Troy remember? He remembers Ashley’s swimsuit. And how much he hated it.
It would be two more years before we would meet again. And you better believe it was because of cheerleading.
Need to catch up?