This story submitted by Stephen and Katie Bryant Snell.
I first saw Stephen my freshman year of college at a Kappa Delta/SAE Halloween Swap. He came in dressed in a toga. When I saw him, I turned to my friend and asked who was this hot guy in the toga. “That’s Stephen Snell,” she said. Unfortunately we were never introduced at the part, but only saw each other in passing.
I graduated in December 2006 and started working for my dad’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Shortly after, I met Tiffany Snell, another campaign staffer. When I told her I was a recent Southern Miss graduate, she asked if I knew Stephen, her brother-in-law. I assured her that I – and every other female – at SouthernMiss knew him. She laughed and said she would introduce us sometime.
A month later, I was on the road traveling across the state with my dad giving the intro speech for his announcement tour. Our destination in Hattiesburg was the Powerhouse on campus. I remember getting up to give my speech and seeing Stephen walk in the door (in his running clothes). I was so nervous I forgot the speech and stumbled through it. I still didn’t meet Stephen.
Later on St. Patrick’s Day I bumped into him at Fenian’s, the Irish Pub in Jackson. I figured it was now or never so I introduced myself. “I think we went to college together” was the best opening line I could come up with. Though an awkward introduction, it worked. We became friends and saw each other often. We both ran in the same circle – the Southern Miss alumni that had moved to Jackson. I remember several times Stephen being overly nice, (seeming interested) but he never made a move.
One time was at the All Star Party. I was running the silent auction and there was an expensive painting no one would buy. I asked Stephen to buy it and he did! He says it’s because he had a crush on me. (Side note: the painting is now hanging in our living room.)
A few months later it was football season. Stephen and I are obsessive Southern Miss fans. We would talk back and forth on Facebook before the games, getting pumped up. After one game, I sent a mass text message to everyone in my phone telling them to come to Mugshots and hang out. Because so many people had complained about impersonal mass texts, I personalized it. “You should come to Mugshots!” Stephen received the text and thought it was just to him. He showed up by himself. At that point, it finally dawned on me that he might like me more than just friends. And now, we’re married and living happily ever after.
The next football season, we started our own tailgate, “The Nest,” that has grown and now includes most of our college friends. One day, we’ll bring our baby Eagles to The Nest and start a new generation of Southern Miss fans.