“Trevor Collins – Football” … three words that I once forgot, but now never will. 

It all began when I was a bright-eyed freshman attending UNC’s first leadership meeting, Carolina Creed. The purpose of this meeting was to unite all teams at UNC under one umbrella and foster character development together. Seated in the blue zone of Kenan Memorial Stadium, I found myself surrounded by 200 other freshmen athletes, all hoping to find some sense of belonging just like me. I scanned the room, searching for a familiar face, but there was none to be found. So, there I sat, embarking on this college journey feeling entirely alone… or so I thought. Amidst the sea of unfamiliar faces, I discovered a group of eight individuals who would become my “cohort” for the year. Now, I’ve never been the best at remembering names, and in that moment, my mind was preoccupied with finding potential friends. Consequently, as we went around the table introducing ourselves, I couldn’t recall a single name. Fortunately, someone remembered mine, but I’ll get to that part shortly.

Exiting that meeting, I felt a mix of excitement for the adventure ahead and a tinge of nervousness about not having made any friends yet, despite this supposedly fantastic opportunity to meet people. I brushed it off as part of the “on my own experience” and carried on.

A few weeks later, I found myself in need of a date for the annual Country Club Cocktail, an event organized by UNC’s men’s and women’s golf and tennis teams. There was an unusual rule that prohibited us from taking anyone who had already been invited. At that point, most of my closest friends were part of those teams.

Merely three months into college, I reached out to one of my older teammates and asked if she knew anyone who would be available to accompany me. She mentioned a super nice football player named Luke, who happened to live in her apartment building. She kindly offered to ask him on my behalf.

To my delight, Luke agreed to accompany me to the Country Club Cocktail, and we had a wonderful time. As the night drew to a close, he informed me that his best friend, Trevor Collins, was in my Creed group. Sadly, I had no recollection of this person. However, I made a mental note that he remembered me. Later that night, my roommate and I searched for “Trevor Collins” on Instagram. I remember saying to her, “Ah, I remember him. Scroll down… oh, he’s cute.” And then it all came rushing back to me: “Trevor Collins – Football.” He said it in a bit of a southern accent, confident not arrogant, playing it off cool but knowing this was his dream come true. And those were the only three words I’d heard from him that night. 

Now, if you were to ask Trevor, he’d tell you a slightly different story. According to him, he had tried to initiate a conversation with me because I had caught his attention. However, I was too preoccupied to engage in any meaningful dialogue. He says now, he wanted to ask for my number but was a little hesitant. I can tell you now he probably didn’t love the idea that I was from north of the Mason-Dixon line and played golf. 

Nonetheless, both of us had valid reasons not to miss our next Creed meeting. Since our Creed group only convened once a month, I spent the interim period eagerly searching for Trevor as I wandered through our athletic facilities, hoping for a chance encounter. Surprisingly, I stumbled upon him in the printer room, making edits to an essay (Trevor was never one to prioritize schoolwork). It was a brief interaction, and once again, Trevor couldn’t muster the courage to ask for my number.

A month passed, and we found ourselves back at Creed. I can’t recall the specifics of that meeting, but I do remember struggling to suppress a smile throughout. There was something about this “too cool for school” football player that made my heart skip a beat or two.

Before long, Trevor and I exchanged Snapchat usernames and started a “streak.” Back then, breaking a streak was considered a crime, so it gave us a reason to communicate with each other every day. Finally, Trevor mustered up the courage, setting aside his Yankee worries, and sent me a text.

I will never forget that moment. I was sitting in my Intro to Journalism class, diligently crafting my first graded story. We had the entire class period to work on it. As I reached about three-quarters of the way through the story, a text from “Trevor Collins – Long Snapper” popped up on my phone. It read, “Hey, what are you up to? Do you want to grab lunch?”

With a surge of exhilaration, I finished the last period of my story, submitted it, and closed my laptop with an ear-to-ear grin. That smile persisted throughout lunch and the rest of the day. My teammates couldn’t help but be skeptical, wondering why I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Meanwhile, Trevor must have been smiling too because not long after our lunch, I received another text from him, asking if I wanted to go see a play that evening. Both of us were taking a drama class that required us to attend these campus plays. We went to the theater with my roommate and two of his football friends. By what we called “half-time”, I had seen all I needed to see. We stood up and quietly walked out, leaving my roommate shaking her head in disbelief. Trevor walked me back to my dorm, and as they say, “The rest is history.”

That smile remained plastered on my face the next morning when I woke up. I carried it with me into my MEJO153 class, eager to pick up my first graded story and receive my grade. When my professor, John Robinson, handed me the paper, he was smiling too. I glanced at the grade and saw 15%—the lowest grade I had ever received—but even that couldn’t dampen my spirits. That’s the power Trevor possesses—he has a way of making life better, no matter how tough things may seem. I remember joking with my teammate later that day, saying that the temperature outside was higher than my grade, despite it being February and a mere 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

As winter transitioned into spring, Trevor and I began spending more and more time together. Until that point, boys had always been some of my closest friends, usually teammates on the baseball diamond or the basketball court. However, things were different with Trevor. For the first time, I found myself not playing alongside him on the field but rather cheering him on from the stands.

It didn’t take long before I became a regular in the stands at Kenan Stadium, spending most of my fall Saturdays watching #60 live out his dream. Whenever I played close to home, Trevor made a point to come out and support me on the golf course—he even carried my bag a time or two. We were each other’s biggest cheerleaders, supporting one another in every way we could.

We were both Tar Heels, representing different sports, but we became teammates in life. Over the next four years, we grew closer and constantly worked on becoming a better team. In December, we both graduated with diplomas, varsity letters, lifelong friends, and a love that would endure long after we tossed our caps into the air.

Like true teammates, we supported each other in chasing our dreams. After graduation, I had plans to move to Florida to train and pursue my dream of becoming a professional golfer. With Trevor’s job in Charlotte, it meant we would have to navigate a long-distance relationship. But I’m grateful to Trevor for encouraging me to go for it.

However, a year apart only served to solidify my belief that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. And it turned out Trevor felt the same way. On November 13th, he proposed to me at Appalachian Evergreens Christmas Tree Farm in Blowing Rock, NC. It was a place that held a special meaning for us. Two years prior, on our way home from a quick trip to Boone, we passed by that very tree farm. I was captivated by the endless rows of trees and told Trevor that I wanted to make it a tradition to go there every year to pick out our Christmas tree when we were older.

And so, Trevor decided to start that tradition by decorating one of the Christmas trees on the farm with ornaments of our favorite memories. In college, he had asked me to be his girlfriend with a simple Post-it note and the George Strait song “Check Yes or No.” This time, he asked me to be his wife on the back of one of the ornaments.

After saying “yes” and sharing a warm embrace, I asked him how he managed to organize such a magical surprise. He simply replied, “I had a little help.” At that moment, heads started popping out from behind the different Christmas trees—it was both of our families. They had been there the whole time, making it an even more unforgettable and enchanting experience.

It truly was the most magical day and weekend. Trevor had beautifully combined my love for him, Christmas, and family into the best day of my life.

Next December we will tie the knot in the place that brought us together, Carolina.

I may have forgotten his name back in 2016, but that for sure won’t be the case when on December 17th they introduce the new Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Collins.

Now, we’ll wear a jersey for the same team and the same last name. Teammates for life. Thank you Carolina for bringing two teams, two Tar Heels, and two hearts together. We are so grateful💙

I love you Trevor, forever and ever. Amen.