Yellow Jacket Valentines
Cupid has matched-up many Georgia Tech student-athlete couples over the years
Feb. 11, 2013
Cupid is a sports fan. Who knew?
In the athletic department at Georgia Tech, and other schools as well, romances have been initiated in weight rooms, training rooms, dining halls and study halls for many years. It makes sense, actually. When not in class or at home sleeping, student-athletes spend the majority of their time in proximity of the athletic department. Men's and women's teams share weight training, sports medicine and academic tutoring facilities. Their paths cross often.
Golfer Matt Kuchar met his wife, Sybi, a Georgia Tech tennis player, while on the Flats. Yellow Jacket men's tennis coach Kenny Thorne met his wife Bridget, a Tech track athlete, when Thorne was a standout on the Tech tennis team. Those are just two of many examples.
With Valentine's Day approaching, Sting Daily caught up with a few of the Yellow Jacket couples:
Scott (Football) And Christy (Softball) Blair
SD:Tell us a little about how the two of you met and how your relationship evolved?
Scott: When Christy and I were both freshmen, we had mandatory study hall. While Christy was being very studious and working on her ME degree, my mind was in another other place. I was thinking: "Dang! Who is that beautiful girl?!" Well after being rejected for what seemed like the millionth time, Christy gave me a rain check as she went home for the summer. When school started back up for our sophomore year, I asked her if I could take her up on that rain check. Lucky for me she was in her hardest semester and says "she would have gone out to eat with anyone because she was so stressed out over school work." In reality, I know she was just playing hard to get! It has been love ever since the first date (in my case it started in study hall).
SD:What was it like dating another student-athlete in college?
Scott: Speaking for both of us, we really enjoyed it. Luckily our sports were in different seasons, so we could go watch each other play. I know Christy would go to all the home games and as many away games as she could. She was my first line of defense in the stands when I would miss a kick. Fans around her quickly knew not to say anything bad about the kicker or they would get the evil eye!
As for me, I went to as many softball games as I could (unfortunately I got a speeding ticket trying to get to one in Columbus on time). I had a blast watching Christy and supporting the team. A few of the other softball boyfriends and myself would get together and yell chants and keep running tallies of home runs and other things. For the big games we even painted up. I always thought it was amazing to watch someone bunt, even when the other team knew it is coming, and beat out the throw with shear speed. I have never seen an athlete dive, crash through fences to catch a ball, and run as hard as Christy. I knew at that point if I ever did something wrong, I would not be able to outrun her.
SD:What is your favorite memory of playing sports at Tech?
Scott: My favorite memory was beating UGA in 2008 and watching Roddy run up and down the field. My favorite part of that game was when we took the lead and the momentum and the UGA players gathered together on a knee for a meeting during a time out, while the Tech sideline was jumping up and down and having fun.
Christy: My favorite softball memory was winning the ACC Championship in 2009. In our 2008 season, we struggled quite a bit. We went 9-11 in the ACC and I think we got eliminated from the 2008 ACC Tournament because of a rain delay and our low seed in the tournament. Well, in 2009 we went 17-3 in the ACC regular season. I remember being in left field (literally, not figuratively) when Kristen Adkins was pitching that final inning with a tight score and we won the battle. We all ran to the mound as fast as we could and celebrated a fantastic ACC battle.
SD:How did you propose marriage?
Scott: Christy is from Kansas and doesn't always get to see her family. With both of us being very family oriented, I thought what better time than when her family is in town so she could share the moment with them. So the weeks leading up to their arrival "we" planned a big party to get family and friends together. Little did Christy know that this party was going to be an engagement party. During the party, we went outside to take a "family picture," at which point I got down on my knee and asked Christy if she would marry me -- with both of our families capturing the moment. There was a little shock at first... saying "That's not mine. Is that mine?" After it sunk in, Christy said "Yes!" From that point on, we celebrated with our family and closest friends.
SD:Are either of you still active in sports, and how so?
Scott: Roswell Adult Co-Ed Slow-pitch Softball Champs! Christy is still diving and throwing people out from the outfield. I have trouble kicking the ball in sometimes.
SD:How closely do the two of you follow Georgia Tech athletics today?
Scott: We enjoy following all sports closely (with a small bias towards softball and football). We have attended almost all home football games since graduation and we still attend a fair share of softball games.
SD:If you have kids, would you mind listing their names and ages?
Scott: No future Tech student-athletes for a few years.
SD:Anything else you want to add for this story?
Scott: What's the Good Word?!
Kenny (Tennis) And Bridget (Track) Thorne
SD:Tell us about how the two of you met and how your relationship evolved?
Bridget: It just happened that the assistant Georgia Tech men's tennis coach Gary Neibur was the first person I met on campus when I came Tech for a visit. When school started, he was quick to introduce me to his entire team. Kenny and I would cross paths, mostly at 6:00 am when we were both up and out the dorm door for early morning practices. There aren't a whole lot of people out on campus that early. During our senior year, our team trainers, Vicki and Arnold, worked on putting us together.
Our treatment times were scheduled at the same time. Gary Neibur also worked at putting us together. Eventually after Neibur's prompting, Kenny asked me on a date. We were engaged 20 months later and married after I finished grad school in September, 1990. Our trainers, Vicki and Arnold, were married three years after us. Kenny says that is why you should always be nice to your coaches and trainers because they can help you in numerous ways!
Now after 22-plus years of marriage, we have four kids that keep us really busy. Daniel (12) plays tennis. Kenedy (13) plays soccer and has started running. Zach (16) does three varsity sports: cross country, swimming and lacrosse. Rachel (17) just officially signed (a letter of intent) on February 7 to be a member of the GT track team in the fall. We are going to try to keep her out of the training room!
The Thorne family.