To quote a popular ESPN slogan: “It’s not crazy, it’s sports.”
From shaving one’s head into their favorite team’s logo to standing shirtless in sub-freezing temperatures, many die-hards will do anything but hold back when it comes to pledging allegiance to their team.
For Williamsburg residents Haisam Abouzaid, a sub contractor for VDOT, and Trish Whitt, a labor and delivery nurse for Sentara, Sunday’s NFL regular-season finale matchup between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys – one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports – provoked them to do something far bolder than a shaved head or painted chest: They got married.
The couple has been together for over six years and had been contemplating tying the knot for a while, but said in each instance the timing just didn’t seem right.
“We had been trying to get married for a couple years,” Whitt said just moments before the two exchanged their vows Sunday afternoon. “We went to Vegas twice and were going to do it, but we chickened out.”
Early last week, Abouzaid, a lifelong Cowboys fan, joked that he and Whitt, a lifelong ‘Skins fan, should get married on Sunday before the showdown that would send one team to the postseason and the other home packing.
The joke lingered a few days until Friday, when the two began putting real thought to the unique idea.
“It started as a joke,” Abouzaid said smiling.
“After both teams won last weekend, he said we should do it before today’s game that will decide everything,” Whitt added pointing to Abouzaid. “We kept joking about it, and then on Friday we just decided that it could be a fun way of doing it. We’ve been together for so many of these rivalries, and this is the biggest one by far.
“It just felt right.”
Whitt learned as she began making arrangements for the ceremony that she wasn’t the only one centering her day on the primetime showdown. Local marriage commissioner Jim Gilley happily agreed to marry the couple under one stipulation: He had to be back home in time for kickoff.
The ceremony was no ordinary one, either.
Rocking their official team gear – Abouzaid in a Tony Romo Cowboys jersey and Whitt in a Robert Griffin III Redskins jersey – held their wedding at 4 p.m. Sunday at the home of Whitt’s aunt, Cheri Brinkley.
With roughly 25 family and friends on hand, who also dressed head to toe in Cowboys or Redskins apparel, the two were happily wed just in time to settle in for the most anticipated NFL showdown of the entire season.
Playoff berths and division titles may be on the line, but both agreed that nothing, not even the game’s outcome, could put even a slight damper on the happiest day of their lives.
“As far as I’m concerned, no matter what happens, I’ve won today,” Whitt said.