The Moment They Knew: Escalating From Phone Calls to a Football Card

After reconnecting by way of long-distance telephone calls within the early Nineties, Tommi Vincent and Troy Vincent Sr., who had met a few years earlier in Trenton, N.J., determined it was time to change images of one another by way of the mail.

At the time, Mr. Vincent was a 22-year-old cornerback for the Miami Dolphins.

“I sent her a football card because that’s the only picture I had of myself,” mentioned Mr. Vincent, 52, now the N.F.L.’s govt vp for soccer operations. “Back then you couldn’t FaceTime.”

Ms. Vincent, a life coach and chef who again then was an 18-year-old school pupil at Temple University, wasn’t instantly impressed by the gesture.

“That wasn’t personal enough for me,” she mentioned.

The pair continued their day by day telephone requires months, nevertheless. And after a few visits, a promise ring and an engagement, they married in 1994. Five kids and 6 grandchildren later, they recalled the second they knew.

This interview has been frivolously edited and condensed.

How did you two meet?

Troy Vincent Sr.: I used to be in highschool, Tommi was in center faculty. Tommi’s older sister was courting my greatest good friend and that’s how I met the household.

Tommi Vincent: We weren’t courting again then, simply to be clear. There’s a four-year age distinction, so at the moment, I met Troy hanging out with my sister and her mates, and I didn’t assume they have been cool in any respect. And then, fast-forward, my sister ended up marrying the gentleman, and so they have been visiting Troy, and he inquired about me.

Troy: They have been on a Disney cruise coming by way of the state of Florida, the place I used to be dwelling. I mentioned, “Show me a picture.”

You known as her first after that?

Troy: Talk about operating any person down. It was like she didn’t even need to speak to me. So not solely did I name her first, I’d not cease calling.

Tommi: Troy is an outdated soul, God bless him, and his first telephone name to me was at 6 a.m. I used to be out partying till 4:30 within the morning. So when he first known as, I’m like, “What?”

Troy: She picked up ultimately, although.

Tommi: I did have a notion of him as a result of he was a skilled athlete. In my thoughts I used to be like: He in all probability a canine. So I had my school roommate on the time screening the calls. The one time that I did choose up, it was raining and my girlfriend wasn’t there. And on that telephone name we stayed on the telephone from 3 within the afternoon till the subsequent morning.

So you exchanged images of yourselves after a few telephone calls. How did she get the soccer card?

Troy: I mailed it, proper?

Tommi: You had Linda mail it — his godmom. Like she was his assistant.

Troy: It was actually a soccer card in an envelope with a 25-cent stamp.

By 2023 requirements, that looks like a lot of effort.

Tommi: At this level, I had already caught emotions for him, so I after I bought the cardboard I used to be extraordinarily irritated, as a result of I didn’t really feel what you’re calling “effort.” I used to be like: You’re going to ship me a soccer card, and I’m sending you a image?

Troy: I didn’t know if she nonetheless regarded like the image that I noticed, as a result of it was an outdated image. But it didn’t matter as a result of at the moment, I fell in love with the one who I used to be on the telephone with on daily basis.

When did you each meet in particular person?

Troy: Maybe about 5 or 6 months later. I used to be up in Jersey and I mentioned, “Let’s go out to dinner.”

Tommi: Troy was taking part in the Jets, and he was like, “Hey, why don’t you come out to the game?” All I had was the soccer card, so in my thoughts I’m like: I don’t even assume I’m going to know who that is after I see him. He walked into the resort and we noticed one another and smiled. And then, a couple of days later, he bought me an airline ticket to come fly out to Florida to spend a couple of days with him.

Was there a second throughout your telephone calls that you simply knew this was the particular person for you?

Troy: None specifically. I believe simply over time. Outside of my line of labor, I used to be not spending a lot time with one other particular person. I’m getting up on the telephone, we’re speaking. On my breaks, we’re speaking. Going to sleep, we’re speaking. It was like, she like my homie. I’m now sharing together with her every part about my life, and it was simply what the physician ordered.

Tommi: I’d say about three months into our relationship — and I hadn’t shared it with anyone — however I had this sense inside me that was indescribable. I simply knew that I wished him to be my husband, however I felt like I’d sound like a idiot if I had expressed that three months into our relationship. We continued to construct on the connection and experiencing intimacy over the telephone, which actually allowed us to get to know one another in methods past.

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