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Sport SEC love story: How a Tennessee fan and an Alabama fan got engaged during rivalry game

19:00  04 november  2020
19:00  04 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Tennessee fan Trey Barnfield didn’t let the Volunteers’ performance deter his happiness the last two times he attended UT’s game against rival Alabama at Neyland Stadium.

Two years ago, when Barnfield went to the game with Kalee McSwain, an Alabama fan, he asked her to be his girlfriend.

Barnfield selected the Third Saturday in October rivalry stage again this year to make another big move in their relationship. Barnfield proposed to McSwain during halftime of the Oct. 24 game.

“I thought, ‘Well, we probably aren’t going to win, but hopefully I’ll come out a winner,’” Barnfield said.

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McSwain said yes, in a moment captured on the Neyland Stadium video board.

a man standing in front of Larry Joe Campbell et al. posing for the camera: Trey Barnfield, left, and Halee McSwain got engaged during the Tennessee vs. Alabama game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium. © Submitted Trey Barnfield, left, and Halee McSwain got engaged during the Tennessee vs. Alabama game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium.

One fan after another offered congratulations to the happy couple as they left the stadium following Alabama’s 48-17 victory, the Crimson Tide’s 14th straight triumph in the series.

“It was unreal,” Barnfield said. “I got to show everybody who I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. That was the cool part, for me.”

Barnfield and McSwain, who live in Gallatin, plan to get married next October.

a group of people posing for the camera: Kalee McSwain, right, shows her ring after getting engaged to Trey Barnfield during the Tennessee vs. Alabama game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium. © Submitted Kalee McSwain, right, shows her ring after getting engaged to Trey Barnfield during the Tennessee vs. Alabama game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium.

McSwain, 29, is an Alabama graduate from Hartford, a small town in southeastern Alabama. A lifelong Crimson Tide fan, she came home from the hospital wearing an Alabama onesie after she was born.

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Barnfield, 29, grew up in the Nashville area, and he credits his dad for helping spark his Vols fanhood.

“Bless his heart,” McSwain said of her fiancé’s Tennessee fandom. “As long as he’s not an LSU fan or an Auburn fan – that would be a deal-breaker for me.”

McSwain made a wooden sign for their home that says "House Divided" across a football. She free-handed the design onto plywood, cut it with a jigsaw and hand-painted it, using skills she learned from when her parents owned a woodshop. Her handiwork incorporates a mix of Tennessee orange and Alabama crimson and features Tennessee and Alabama megaphones.

a close up of a stop sign: Alabama fan Kalee McSwain made a sign to reflect her household's divided fandom after she got engaged to Tennessee fan Trey Barnfield during the Vols vs. Crimson Tide rivalry game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium. © Submitted Alabama fan Kalee McSwain made a sign to reflect her household's divided fandom after she got engaged to Tennessee fan Trey Barnfield during the Vols vs. Crimson Tide rivalry game on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium.

“I’m competitive, and so is she. I’ve always wanted a house divided. I wanted that competition,” Barnfield said. “I like being a little different. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted a house divided. I always thought those were the coolest stories.”

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Barnfield and McSwain met at a Christmas party hosted by a mutual friend in December 2017. Barnfield works for the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, and McSwain works in criminal investigations for a private company. After meeting, they continued to bump into each other through their friend groups and they saw each other at the gym. By August 2018, they had started hanging out, leading up to their date attending the Alabama-Tennessee game in 2018 at Neyland Stadium.

Barnfield told his family that they’d know a proposal was coming after he sold his motorcycle, because he planned to use the proceeds to buy a ring. He sold his bike last spring, bought the ring and started considering the scene for the proposal.

a group of people sitting in front of a crowd: Trey Barnfield, left, asks Kalee McSwain to marry him during Tennessee's game against Alabama on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium © Submitted Trey Barnfield, left, asks Kalee McSwain to marry him during Tennessee's game against Alabama on Oct. 24 at Neyland Stadium

The couple vacationed to Mexico in August. Barnfield considered proposing during that trip but decided to wait for an opportunity that would allow them to share the experience with others.

He settled on the Alabama-Tennessee game, but proposing while on the stadium's video board became an unplanned twist.

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Barnfield’s cousin, Justin Wilson, also attended the game and assisted with the pregame flyover in his role with the Tennessee Air National Guard. Wilson used that connection to quietly arrange for the proposal to be shown on the stadium’s video board. Barnfield wasn’t clued in on the plan, but when he saw himself on the video board he didn’t freeze up, and he successfully caught McSwain by surprise.

“He is the worst at keeping secrets,” McSwain said, “especially with me. I always can tell when he’s hiding something. He was acting completely normal – nothing out of the ordinary. So, it was very surprising.”

Added Barnfield: “It all lined up perfect. I couldn’t write a better story.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: SEC love story: How a Tennessee fan and an Alabama fan got engaged during rivalry game

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At a time when people are sacrificing in various ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, including financially, why would these coaches decline to contribute? We have a theory. © Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Eight Volunteers coaches declined Tennessee's request to accept a pay cut. © Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Eight Volunteers coaches declined Tennessee's request to accept a pay cut. The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Blake Toppmeyer broke the news about the pay cuts on Friday and learned the information through a Freedom of Information request.

usr: 1
This is interesting!