I met my wife, Jayne, because of our mutual involvement in journalism and, because she married an incorrigible sports writer, the games athletes play have often been a backdrop to our day-to-day lives. (That’s us in the photo above — she’s even more beautiful now than she was back then…Love that smile!)
As noted in this blog before, we met at a school board meeting in my hometown of Clinton, S.C., when I was working with the local school district as its public relations person and she was beginning what would be a successful journalism career as a reporter.
And I’m thankful every day for South Carolina open meetings laws, which threw us together for an extended period of time as she sat in my office each evening for about a week awaiting a daily update on a school board personnel hearing.
(If you know us personally and we haven’t ever told you this story, ask us sometime. It involves a school administrator’s inappropriate comments about, among other things, a mattress and a bottle of wine. And for readers from my hometown, the culprit was probably no one you would know or remember.)
This led to me asking Jayne out on a first date to a Clemson basketball game. See my blog entry from March 3, 2009, for that story. We’ve been an item ever since.
And one of the things that binds us together is that common interest in journalism. Because we’ve both worked in the profession — and at the same place on several occasions — we understood about postponed meals or nights out because a story got in the way, or the idea that sometimes the job just required us to work while others we knew were socializing. When the other spouse doesn’t understand that, it can be a problem. I never had to worry about it and I’ll always be grateful for that.
I’ll also always be grateful for her at least tolerating, and sometimes being a willing participant in, my interest in going to a ball game.
Some of my fondest memories of us are from sports events:
— going to an Atlanta Braves July 4th game in 1984 with a group of friends and getting back home to S.C. near the crack of dawn after an extra-inning marathon followed by fireworks.
— Jayne, the intrepid reporter, marching as close as she could get without a media pass down to the lower level of Littlejohn Coliseum to take pictures of Jim Valvano, then the coach of the N.C. State Wolfpack. We’ve still got a couple of those photos.
— freezing nearly to death while watching Clemson and Minnesota in the Independence Bowl. Who’d have thought the coldest we’d ever be at a football game would be in Louisiana?
— going to NCAA tournament basketball games in the Superdome in New Orleans in 1990 and to Greensboro (all the way from Florida) in 1992 to see Duke.
— My sweet wife treated me to a Houston Astros game for my 33rd birthday — complete with a “Happy Birthday” scoreboard message — on the night that Pete Rose became baseball’s all-time hits leader. We still miss the Astrodome.
— We literally walked down a red carpet to the 1994 Baseball All-Star Game gala in Pittsburgh featuring Tony Bennett.
— And we had a ball at Coors Field in Denver about a year ago watching a Colorado Rockies game and have also enjoyed trips to Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Bobcats games in the past year.
Of course, the main thing was just being together and having a good time, which we manage to do just about anywhere.
So thanks for 25 years of putting up with all this, Honey, and sharing it with me. I couldn’t have asked for anyone more perfect to be there by my side. Happy Anniversary and let’s have at least 25 more!