Cheerleader Falls In Love With The Basketball Champ.
Story by Stephanie Ray Brown
April 15 is always a day of celebration in our household. Not only does it end a long tax season for my accountant husband Terry, but it is also the date when we fell in love twenty-two years ago…
In the spring of 1980, I had been following one particular guy around school for months. I just did not have the nerve to go up and talk to him. An embarrassing situation from that winter — truly prevented me from approaching him.
He had been a starter for the junior varsity basketball team and I was a cheerleader. I had many opportunities to see this gorgeous guy in action. (That is if I would wear my glasses — which I was usually too vain to do!). To say the least I am blind as a bat. As Terry sank a half court last second shot — this extremely near sighted cheerleader, mistaking the blurred vision for another guy, began cheers for Jeff not Terry. As the crowd started chuckling, my face turned crimson as Terry walked by me to get to the locker room. Months later, he only knew me as the dingy cheerleader who could not even get his name right when he hit a great shot!
However, my best friend attended church with Terry. Shirley decided to play matchmaker. She not only invited me to a church sponsored skating party — but also literally pushed me in his parent’s car to ride to the skating rink. Although the skating rink was fifteen miles away — very few words were spoken. As I sank down in that backseat, I just wanted to keep sinking. This had truly been a huge mistake.
After we arrived at the skating rink, things did not get any better. Each couple skate I hoped and prayed that Terry would ask me. He didn’t! After about three couple skates, I decided enough was enough! So I took turns skating with his two best friends. As the last call for a couple skate came over the rink’s p.a., Terry finally skated somewhat awkwardly and stood beside the rails with me.
“I guess you wonder why I have not asked you to couple skate?” were his first words to me. Trying ever so hard not to look in those big beautiful brown eyes that made me melt, I answered nonchalantly and dishonestly, “No, not really.”
This guy not only ignored my tart reply, but would also win my heart with the following reply. Casting those beautiful eyes down at his skates, he humbly remarked, “I only didn’t ask because I do not skate very well. If you are not afraid that I will make you fall, would you please skate with me?”
This time I did look into those eyes and did melt.
As we skated hand in hand to Always and Forever, I knew my life would never be the same. I never knew a guy that actually would admit any of his faults — let alone also worry about a girl to boot! I had first been attracted to his beauty on the outside.
Who wouldn’t notice those beautiful brown eyes? Nonetheless, it would be his beautiful heart that made me realize how truly special he was.
I had actually found my Prince Charming. Even though he was not riding on a handsome steed (but rented roller skates), he made me feel like Cinderella at the ball as we skated around the rink. I clung tightly to his hand – not because I was afraid of midnight — but to help keep him from falling.
Looking at our wedding pictures — my favorite is walking down the aisle as husband and wife. Most couples walk down the aisle with the bride’s hand tucked neatly in the crook of her husband’s arm. Not us! We walked down the aisle after being pronounced man and wife — just like we had done seven years before at that skating rink. Hand in hand — with the promise of helping keep the other one from falling.
Our children love to hear the story of how their dad did not know how to skate and asked me to hold his hand to help us keep from tumbling. But it had already been too late for their mother. Only after one look into those eyes, she had fallen… fallen in love with Prince Charming.