How Basketball Brought My Wife and Me Together


One evening back in the ’90s, I was sitting around watching the Chicago Bulls on TV with a few of my buddies at BYU. Like pretty much every other sports fan at the time, I idolized Michael Jordan and loved watching the Bulls wipe the floor with whichever poor team found themselves on the other end of the court. It was a great game, but for some reason, one of the guys suggested we get up off the couch and head to the BYU basketball game that was going on that night. I’ve obviously always been a big BYU fan, but that year they were totally lousy and really phoning it in on the hardwood. Though I don’t know why, I agreed with my friend, and we piled into the car and made our way to the Marriott Center.

Little did I know that my decision to skip watching the Bulls for once would result in a chance meeting with Kristi, my future wife and the most important person in my life. With Valentine’s day this month, I’ve been reenacting on the circumstances that enabled me to end up with such an incredible person for 21 years and counting.

I don’t remember much from the BYU game that night, but as we were leaving the arena, we bumped into a previous neighbor of mine,
a woman who’d lived next to me in my old apartment. We got to chatting, and she introduced me to her roommate, Kristi. She had returned from her mission in Hong Kong only a couple months prior, so we stood outside talking for a few minutes about that. We immediately hit it off. She was incredibly cute, and I should’ve — and wanted to — ask her out right then and there, but being the shy dummy I was back then, I couldn’t muster the guts. I didn’t even ask for her number.

I spent the entire next week desperately trying to get in contact with her to correct my mistake. I knew my old neighbor worked at the local Arby’s, so every night, I kept coming back to the Arby’s hoping to catch her. When I finally did, I told her that I was eager to take her roommate out and asked if she could give her my number. She said, “Oh, that’s great! Her birthday’s coming up. She’ll be so happy!”

So, our first date was on her birthday, hanging out at the bowling alley with a couple friends, getting dinner, and then watching a movie back at my friend’s place.

I’d realized years later how crazy it was that we’d bumped into each other that night. You see, Kristi isn’t really into basketball; in fact, I think that was probably one of two games she’s attended in her entire life. Honestly, it feels like fate intervened to bring us together. At the time, I was 26, which is old to be unmarried in BYU terms. Kristi always says that it took me so long because I was looking for her.

At any rate, I couldn’t be happier that I waited until she came along. Though our personalities are opposite (I’m the more laid-back jokester and she’s the more serious get-things-done type), our demeanors complement each other perfectly. She’s the most beautiful, levelheaded, reliable, and kind woman I’ve ever met, and, of course, she’s a truly amazing mother to all of our kids. I can’t imagine my life without her.

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