Love, Wahoo Style
By Carmen Shirkey
For Simone and Dave Alley, their 1996 season tickets to UVA football turned out to be more than mere football tickets – they were their tickets to love.
“My sister and I and some other members of my family had season tickets,” Simone remembered. “We couldn’t get seats all together, so we had seats scattered throughout the section. As fate would have it, Dave and his friends had the seats right behind where I sat. For an entire season, he tried to get my attention. He’d have a two-day-old beard, a sweatshirt, and was usually drinking. He was definitely a diamond in the rough.”
“Well, I didn’t notice her right away,” Dave said. “When my friends and I went to football games, we were there for the game. We didn’t really pay much attention to what was going on around us. But our seats were right behind her family’s seats, and we started talking to them throughout the season.”
“I think he was impressed to have found a family that was as into this football stuff as he was,” Simone said. “My sister had been telling me all season that I should go out with him, and I was like ‘I don’t know. He’s got all those rum bottles.’”
“They started giving us a hard time about being rowdy and loud. Then we started talking to her sister and brother in law and became friends. That’s what donating to the VAF and going to the games is all about. You get to meet people and be a part of the culture around UVA sports.”
This went on throughout the season, but in the last game of the season against UNC, Simone had come down with the flu and left at halftime. Her sister can take the credit for being the matchmaker, because she and Dave got to talking, and she dutifully informed him that Simone was not married and was available. She asked him for a business card to she could pass his number onto Simone. All of this in the pouring rain.
“I didn’t have a business card, because I wasn’t there to work, I was there for the football,” Dave said. “So my friend – now business partner – had a card, and I wrote my number on the back of that.”
Several weeks went by before Simone said “what the heck” and tried to give Dave a call.
“The receptionist answered the phone and I asked for Dave – that was all he had written on the card,” Simone explained. “She said that she couldn’t help me, that there were a lot of Daves. So I asked for the guy whose name was on the front of the card, and he put me through. I come to find out later that the secretary wouldn’t put me through, because he had taken her to the Duke game that year.”
“Listen, the front desk isn’t going to put you through to me if they don’t know who you are. They are very protective. Simone thinks that she didn’t get through because I was dating the secretary, and I’m sure at parties, my drunken buddies confirm that, but it’s not true.”
Either way, Simone had to work pretty hard to get in touch with Dave. Once they connected, though, they had a first date over dinner at the old Sloan’s in Charlottesville.
A little more than a year later, they were discussing marriage. Neither one of them were into a big, full-out wedding,
“I think I confirmed that I was the woman for him when I suggested we get married in Buckhead, GA on the weekend of the UVA/Georgia Tech game and go to the game the next day,” Simone said.
“We would’ve gone to the game, anyway,” Dave said. “Why not take ten or twelve people with us and make it into a wedding? I planned the whole thing. We got married in the J.W. Marriott in Buckhead, we had the presidential suite, her brother sang, and there were tuxedos and dresses.”
The whole wedding party went to the game on Saturday, and they even tailgated with some Georgia Tech folks before the game.
“The conversation at the tailgate turned to the fact that we were on our honeymoon, and the people we were tailgating with said to me, ‘Damn! You really are into football!’”
UVA lost to Georgia Tech that day, but Simone and Dave won.
After the game, they honeymooned in Toronto and Las Vegas, then came back to Virginia to have a big celebration with their family and friends that hadn’t attended the wedding.
Eight years later, Simone and Dave are the proud parents of a set of twins who just turned five and can already sing the “Good Old Song” better than any first-year student. They haven’t missed a game in Atlanta since.
“God put us in those seats,” Simone said.