Working overtime: married student-athletes shoulder extra responsibility
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014 12:02
She was beautiful. He saw her in class, but never said a word until the last day. Now he didn’t have class as an excuse to see her anymore.
But when he walked into one of his summer courses a few weeks later amongst a group of football teammates, there she was.
“See that girl back there? I’ll get her,” Kevin Whimpey said to his teammates. “Just watch.”
And he did.
Kevin and Shaylee Whimpey dated for a year after they met and were married June 1, 2012.
Ashlan Rogers and Jefferson Court had been dating for a year and a half when he found himself speeding along the road from Ogden to Logan, a diamond ring in his pocket.
His heart sank when he saw flashing red and blue lights in his rear view mirror. He tried to explain that he was in a hurry, that she was going to be mad if he was late.
“I’m going to propose to my girlfriend right now,” he said.
He got the ticket anyway.
“He got here and he wanted to go for a walk in the canyon, and we walked up to the top of the mountain and it overlooked everything,” Ashlan said.
She knew the question was coming, but now that the time was here, she started to panic.
“I just kept shaking my head and saying, ‘No, let’s just go. I don’t want to do this right now,’” Ashlan said. “I was totally freaking out, like, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’ but he finally got me over there, and it worked out.”
He finally got her to calm down and dropped to one knee.
“She said ‘No’ at first, and then quickly ‘Yes.’” Jefferson said.
They were married July 19, 2013.
Being a married student can be a challenge. It takes work to balance time with housework, school and family, but the Whimpeys and Courts add one more thing to that — they are members of collegiate athletic teams.
Kevin is an offensive lineman for the USU football team. When he met Shaylee, she was a cheerleader on the USU Spirit Squad.
Jefferson is a tight end on the football team, and Ashlan plays libero for Aggie volleyball.
Both couples said it is hard balancing time together with athletics.
“We basically just never really saw each other that much, so that was kinda hard,” Shaylee said.
During spring football practice, Kevin would leave at 5 a.m. and wouldn’t be home until 6 or 7 p.m.
“She would get home at seven, and we’d eat and go to bed,” he said.
A lot of nights, Kevin would get home from practices and Shaylee would leave to go cheer for another athletic event.
“It was hard not seeing each other, but it opened up some time for the Xbox for me,” Kevin said jokingly.
Shaylee cheered for one year while married and decided this year that the time required on top of work and school was just too much.
The Courts faced a similar situation, because their athletic seasons overlap.
“Road trips sucked,” Jefferson said.
The volleyball team usually traveled from Wednesday to Sunday, whereas the football team would be gone Friday to Saturday. The teams often traveled on opposite weeks, which made seeing each other even more of a challenge.
“I would call him on my road trips every time crying,” Ashlan said. “It was really really hard.”
As hard as balancing time together was, getting good grades and doing their best at their athletic events was something the Courts stressed.
“When you’re at practice, you’re at practice. You’ve got to work hard at that, and then as soon as that’s done, you’ve just got to get right to the studying and the homework, whatever you have,” Jefferson said.
But Ashlan said it would get hard to want to study when sports takes up so much of their time.
“Some people think it’s easier to do school when they’re married, but for us it’s harder because since we don’t see each other very often, we don’t want to leave each other to go study,” she said.
Shaylee said the key to balancing it all is prioritizing.
“You just have to make sure that you make the relationship a priority when you’re both really busy,” she said.
“I would just preach not stresing,” Kevin said. “We’re both really busy, but I’m a lot more laid back when it comes to stressing out over stupid things, which most guys are, so I would just try to get her refocused when she gets stressed out.”
The Whimpeys and the Courts focus on having fun being married.
“When we are together, we always just have so much fun. He always makes me laugh,” Ashlan said.
“I love how sporadic she is,” Jefferson said. “She is the happiest person ever whenever I walk in the door and she sees me. When she wants to go do something, it’s always the most random thing ever, and it’s so much fun.”