This post is part 1 of 5 in the series How I Met Your Father.
I met your father because of those two numbers.
It was 2001, in Quincy, Illinois. Your father was a very talented athlete. He could jump high and far. He jumped so far in fact he was the Illinois State Champion. The jump of 24 feet and 7 inches was one of the 10 best long jump performances in the country that year.
Kids, when you’re this good, colleges come calling. It’s called Recruiting.
Meanwhile, back in Ames, Iowa, your Papa Lynn was the Iowa State Track and Field Coach. He signed scholarships for all the athletes on his team. His assistant coach, Coach Mac, told your papa, “We gotta get this guy from Quincy.” Long story short, your Papa signed the papers and your father became an Iowa State Cyclone.
Your father thought he was coming to Ames to go to school and compete as a Division I athlete. Little did he know, his coach was going to be his father-in-law.
I stepped onto the ISU campus the same day as your father. I went to my first track practice the same day as your father. But we never met.
I met him off the track, in street clothes, out with friends. We chatted, he flirted, insisting I was in his math class. I wasn’t. (He denies this part of our story). While we bantered about said math class, one of the older teammates walked into our conversation. He looked at me and said, “Oh my, the coach’s daughter is out.” Your father clearly had no clue who I was, or more, whom I was related to. As soon as he made this connection, your father literally took a step back from me.
The Coach’s Daughter.
He pretty much left me alone after that!
While your Papa was apparently intimidating enough for your father (or anyone for that matter) to not pursue me, I had other ideas!
I thought your father was cute. He had an air of mystery to him. He kept pretty quiet on the track, but I sensed something behind that smile of his. On the days I practiced long jump, I’d talk to your father. I’d tell some lame story, or try to be funny. I clearly remember one day when I finally did a drill correctly (I wasn’t a natural at the long jump like your father). I did a little cheer, tripped, and fell on my face. Your father saw. My roommate who worked out with him daily, knew I liked him. His roommate, who dated my good friend, knew I was crushing. I knew all this seed planting—the lame jokes, the making a fool of myself, the encouragement of friends—would pay off. I just didn’t know it would take two years.
Yes, it took your father TWO YEARS to man-up and talk to “The Coach’s Daughter.”
Our first date was to church. Afterwards we went out for brunch. I told more lame stories and dumb jokes. One of the first times I left his house, I walked off the front step and fell on my face. I guess by that point, he knew what he was getting into.
We made a pact to keep our relationship hush-hush from the rest of the team as he feared the smack-talk reaction he’d get from them. But, your father needed a little reassurance that it was okay with your Papa for him to date me.
So, like he did before, your Papa signed the paper.
It took one big jump, two signed documents, and two years of waiting for your father to finally date me. After that we were always together,
Read more from our How I Met Your Father series:
- When the One Breaks Through
- Third Time Is the Charm
- Through Faith and Friendship
- The Handsome Hipster from Nebraska