Kirk Cousins’s proposal story
The week before Thanksgiving, Kirk Cousins tweeted a photo of what was clearly himself proposing to his girlfriend, Julie Hampton, with a picturesque D.C. in the background. I spoke to the Redskins backup quarterback this week and he shared the story of how it all went down.
“I talked to my U.S. congressman from my home area in west Michigan, Bill Huizenga, who I had gotten to know a little bit,” Cousins explained. “I called him to see if I could propose on the balcony of the Speaker of the House’s office, because I had been there before and seen the view and thought it was a great view. He said they could set it up.”
They found a day that worked, which ended up being Friday, Nov. 22, and Huizenga’s assistants agreed to be on hand to take pictures of the moment. Cousins told his now fiancee that they were going to do a tour of the Capitol building so they headed downtown together.
“I was extremely nervous,” Cousins said. “On the way down driving the car, as we got close to the Capitol building I was holding her hand and she goes, ‘Why are your hands cold and sweaty?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,’ but I knew it was because I was super nervous.”
The couple, who have been together a year and a half and met through a mutual family friend, made their way through the building and to the balcony, presumably to check out the view.
“I just mentioned the view, and told her how we’d gotten to know each other in this city and how we had good memories when we used to walk through the city on some of our earlier dates,” Cousins recounted. He then popped the question before Julie could get suspicious. “I went down a knee before it got too sappy, before it got too awkward. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she said yes. That’s all I needed to hear.”
Cousins presented his bride-to-be with a round-cut solitaire diamond set in white gold that he purchased during the Redskins’ bye week in October, more than a month before the proposal.
“Once I got it, it was tough to have, so I just put it out of sight in the upper corner of my closet by the Christmas decorations and just hid it back there and made sure I wasn’t even looking at it so it would be kinda out of mind,” Cousins said. “I wanted to wait and make sure I did it the right way and not rush it.”
Cousins managed to hold to the ring for a month and a half, and the proposal went mostly according to plan. He did say that there were a few minor details he would have changed about the scene in the background of the happy moment.
“I was hoping she wasn’t starting to get suspicious, and she didn’t, so that was as planned. I wanted to make sure those guys could take good pictures while I was on one knee, and they did, so that went as planned,” he laughed. “The view was great. We were trying to get it at about 5 o’clock, when the sun was setting, but it was a cloudy day, so we didn’t really get the sunset. The scaffolding was still on the monument, but I couldn’t do a whole lot about the scaffolding. I couldn’t pull some strings on that one. Couldn’t pull some strings on the sunset. There were two big cranes in the background. I would have liked to have those removed.”
Despite the minor glitches that only Cousins himself was aware of, it was a perfect moment and the happy couple is wasting no time in taking the next step. They plan to get married June 28 in Atlanta, Hampton’s hometown.
“I didn’t want a long engagement at all,” Cousins said. “If it were up to me, I’d get married next month. But obviously she needs time to prepare and have the wedding she wants and has dreamed about. But I think it’ll just be fun to have family all together in one place for a day. And I just want her to be happy and think positively on it for years to come.”
And perhaps some Potato Oles at the reception?
“That’s not a bad idea,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have to send another email and see what I can do.”
Steve Oleksy’s game-day ritual: watching a movie
When I spoke with Steve Oleksy for a “Last Thing” chat, he mentioned that the last movie he saw was depression-era gangster movie “Lawless.”
“Obviously I’ve seen it quite a few times, but it was the last one,” the Caps defenseman said. “On game days I usually tend to watch a movie between pregame skate and our game, so I always threw something on, and ‘Lawless’ was the last one I threw on.”
One of the most common athlete rituals is the game-day nap, but Oleksy told me that catching some Zs isn’t on his schedule. His movie habit has become his own ritual.
“I don’t nap between practice and our game on game days,” he explained. “I like to stay awake, so I throw in a movie, kinda get my mind away from things and just relax. Hang out and refresh the mind. It’s something that I do every game day.”
Oleksy said there isn’t a particular type of movie that psychs him up for the game. From action to comedy, it doesn’t matter, and he insists that one type of movie doesn’t affect his mind-set more than another.
“I switch it up,” he said. “I just flip through, and whatever catches my eye I throw on. I like all movies. It’s nice to expand and watch all different ones.”
Something tells me that the One Direction movie isn’t in the rotation.
Doug Fister is renovating his own bathroom
Doug Fister is due $7 million on his traded contract, so it’s safe to say that he can afford to hire someone to fix up his bathroom. But the Nats pitcher is taking matters into his own hands, as explained to Holden and Danny on 106.7 The Fan.
“I’m actually at home right now,” Fister said at the beginning of the interview. “I’m remodeling my bathroom. So I’m kind of in between some of the plumbing right now. I ripped it out down to studs and have started putting things back in, just put some granite up in the shower and new tub, new toilet, new everything.
“I’m doing it all myself except the granite,” he continued. “I got a good friend of mine that has a company, so he came over to help me out, and other than that, I’m pretty well doing it by myself.”
Fister said that he began learning about home improvement at a young age from his dad, and that the need for a job during his minor league days furthered his remodeling career.
“Starting off with my dad, we’d sort of always do projects around the house and kind of remodeled over there,” he explained. “But in the minor leagues I actually had to get a job in the offseason so I worked construction a couple of years.”
Despite his construction prowess, Fister said that if he baseball hadn’t worked out, he would have followed in his father’s footsteps. Fister’s dad was a police officer for many years before becoming a firefighter, something the Nats’ newest pitcher admires.
“You know, I’ve always wanted to play baseball but you always have to have a backup plan, going to school and everything else,” he said. “I went to school to be a schoolteacher, but I would always love to do the police side of things. My uncle was a police officer who just retired a couple years ago, my aunt, my grandfather, there’s a long line of law enforcement in my family, so it’s something that I would definitely look into.”
Antwaan Randle El’s gross finger is gross
My pals from Ball Hogs Radio held a fundraiser this week to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines. Their special guest was Antwaan Randle El. A bunch of local athletes helped out as well.
I’m not sure exactly how this came up, but while there, Randle El showed off his little finger, which looks different than most little fingers, thanks to a career of playing football. Like, most fingers are marginally straight, and this one is not.
I understand that, in the current climate, we’re talking about long-term health effects from playing pro football that go far beyond fingers that look gross. Still, that’s a finger that looks gross.
Also, Randle El did the Heisman pose with a Ricky Bobby impersonator. And autographed his head.
(Photos via @ballhogsradio)
Rob Ford’s NFL picks for Week 14
Toronto mayor Rod Ford is a “football fanatic,” and so despite the recent controversy surrounding him, he was incredibly eager to grant an NFL-focused interview with the Junkies Thursday morning on 106.7 The Fan. Click here for highlights from the interview. Below are Ford’s picks, in a form that’s easy to print and take straight to the sports book.
Chiefs (-3.5) at Redskins
Redskins. ”Washington’s tough at home.”
Colts at Bengals (-5.5)
Colts. “That’s gonna be too close, I think it’s gonna be a field goal game Cincinnati’s good at home, but you know what? I’ll take Indy for sure.”
Seahawks at 49ers (-2.5)
49ers. “[Seattle] played Monday night, it’s gonna be a short week for them. I’ll take San Fran at home.”
Lions at Eagles (-2.5)
Eagles. “Philly’s red-hot at home, Detroit usually plays good at home, but on the road, I don’t see it.”
Titans at Broncos (-12.5)
Titans. “Denver’s a good team and they’re good at home. I just think 12 is too much.”
Cowboys at Bears (pick ‘em)
Bears. “It’s cold in Chicago, it’s hard to play outside when you’re a dome team, I find.”
Texans (-3.5) at Jaguars
Raiders at Jets (-2.5)
Jets. “The Jets oughta come back big at home.”
Bills at Buccaneers (-2-5)
Bills. “Buffalo was just up in Toronto last week, so they didn’t look too bad, they lost a squeaker to Atlanta.”
Giants at Chargers (-3.5)
Rams at Cardinals (-6)
Vikings at Ravens (-7.5)
Browns at Patriots (-11.5)
Panthers at Saints (-4.5)
Dolphins at Steelers (-3.5)
Falcons at Packers (pick ‘em)
Also, Ford said he bets on football all the time with Pro-Line (it is legal in Canada). And he does not like when women win the city hall football pool because they pick by “who’s the cutest guy.” Full interview is here.