(Baylor v. Kansas, circa 2006)
I heard through the grapevine that Bailey had decided to take another guy (Andrew) to her formal and it broke my heart. I didn’t know Andrew at the time, but Bailey told me he was on the football team and was in seminary. I thought to myself, “Oh great, this guy already has a leg up on me; not only is he on the football team, he’s a Bible scholar.” I remember asking her about her first date with Andrew, though I don’t remember what she said. All I remember is that I told her to be careful. What I was really trying to say was “Don’t fall in love with this guy; I’ll be done with my commitment in a short six months.”
Christmas break rolled around at the end of 2005 and I was going to spend the break back out in West Texas (a.k.a God’ Country). Bailey and I were still talking then, but on a less frequent basis. I asked her if we could write letters back and forth to each other while we were away during Christmas break. She obliged and I wrote her a letter as soon as I got home. She wrote one back and we exchanged a few more during the month of December. During the break, I also undertook the task of making her a video, documenting all of our trips that Fall to football games, etc. That darn video took me weeks to finish. I remember one of my best friends, Brad, asking when I was going to put the video down and enjoy the Christmas break. I think I told him 100 times “I’m almost done.” Truth is, I couldn’t think about anything else but Bailey McKissack at that time.
I sent the video to her and she got it on or around Christmas day. On Christmas day, she called me and I was excited to hear her voice. She said that she watched the video and that it was the best gift anyone had ever given her. My hope was that the video, the effort I put into the video, would send her the message that she meant more to me than she thought. What I didn’t know at the time was that Andrew was also applying a full-court press and was trying to send her the same message. Only difference was, had hadn’t made the same commitment I had and he was being honest about his feelings for Bay. I didn’t know that he sent her dozens of flowers and asked her to be his girlfriend, also on Christmas day. Christmas day came and went and within a few days I was back in Waco for a Baylor basketball game.
I remember being excited that I was going to see Bailey; I was hoping we could chat and get a few laughs in. But, to my surprise, she acted different towards me. She was a little cold and standoffish. We chatted a bit and before you knew it, the game was over. We went our separate ways and that night I got a call from my mom. She told me that I had received a letter from Bailey. She asked me if I wanted her to mail it to me. I was so eager to hear what Bailey had written that I told my mom to just go ahead and open the letter and read it over the phone. As she began to read the letter, her voice slowed as she read the part about Andrew asking Bailey to be his girlfriend. You could hear the heartbreak in my mother’s voice as she read the next few lines. Though I don’t remember exactly what Bailey wrote, the gist was that Andrew had asked her to be his girlfriend and she said yes. That being said, she thought the dynamic of our relationship had to change. She didn’t think we should write letters or talk on the phone anymore. Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
After I got off the phone with my mom, I called Bailey and told her I received her letter. I think I asked her why she didn’t tell me in person at the basketball game, and she responded that she thought I already knew. I told her that I could tell she was acting cold and that it all made sense. I told her not to worry, that I would respect her’s and Andrew’s relationship. And I did.
Football tryouts were a few days later. I tried out and made the team, so it only made sense that I quit the cheer squad. My first day on the football team, I showed up and realized shortly thereafter that my locker was two lockers down from Andrew’s. I thought to myself, “Oh great, now I’m going to have to hear this guy talk about his relationship with Bay all the time.” I remember meeting Andrew for the first time, as he showed up for practice. He was polite and introduced himself. He said, “Hey, I’m Andrew. You’re Bailey’s friend, right?” I said I was and that I had heard great things about him. We put on our shoulder pads, laced up our cleats, grabbed our helmets and went to practice. As fate would have it, Andrew was a receiver and I was a defensive back (the position responsible for guarding the receivers). I would not talk to or see Bailey for another six months…