Written By:  Tiffany Verzal

Brandon and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary this week. It’s been fun to look back over the last ten years. We’ve both changed so much, and grown in ways that we would have never imagined.

Between Brandon and myself, we’ve lived in six different cities, and on both coasts. Brandon has worked for two college teams and three major league baseball teams. I’ve worked in retail, public relations, and had more freelance video jobs than I can count.

It took all of that to end up in the city we started in, owning our production company together. The ironic part about it all is that four apartments, one townhouse, and two houses later, we’ve ended up less than a mile from the apartment I lived in when we were engaged.

What I have learned after ten years, is to be happy where you are at. You know, “grow where you are planted.”

I should have known from the day we got married that nothing would happen as planned. I went to get in my car to drive to the church for our wedding, but my car wouldn’t start. No problem, I caught a ride with my mom.

Our wedding was wonderful, but when we walked out of the church as “the Verzal’s”, we realized that the limo wasn’t there to take us to our reception. We hopped in the old caddy with my dad, and away we went.

When we got to the reception, my mom met me at the door. We had ordered plated chicken with rice for the sit down dinner, but instead our guests were eating buffet Chinese food. To the credit of the hotel, it did include chicken and rice! Good enough.

It was still one really rockin’ party.

We were supposed to leave on Sunday morning to drive my car to Seattle. But it didn’t end up getting fixed until late on Sunday, so we did a 23 hour drive straight through. I am pretty sure we were both questioning our marriage by the time we hit the Cascade mountains at 4 a.m. However, we didn’t have long to argue. Brandon had a sixteen game home-stand with the Mariners (20 hour days) before we would go on our honeymoon.

We lived in a tiny little apartment close to downtown Seattle that cost us almost $900 a month. We paid an extra $100 a month to park each car. Did I mention that I couldn’t find a job?

Yeah, that was the time of our lives.

But when I sit here and write all of this out, I can’t help but smile and laugh. I wouldn’t change any of it.

I eventually got a job working with a great post-production house in Seattle and we were able to move into a super awesome apartment directly above our first apartment. We had a view of the water and the mountains. We walked to Pike’s Place Market every weekend and bought flowers. We learned to love coffee. We made some great friends.

When the opportunity came for us to move to Texas, we were excited to be 12 hours closer to our families. The move from one of the most expensive cities in the United States to one of the most economical places to live was good to us.

We ended up saving enough to put a down payment down on a house in less than a year. College Station was not without it’s challenges. After one year of living there, I was finally able to get hired to do video work. It was with Brandon at the Texas A&M Athletic Department. We both loved our jobs, but the schedule of college athletics is very demanding, especially when both of us were in the midst of it.

It was during that time that we learned to work as a team.

I’ve always felt like that is what pulled us though the hardest times after Alexis was hurt. Maybe that’s a silly sports analogy, but that is what works for us. Between both of us working in the sports industry, we’ve seen our fair share of great teams. We’ve spent hours editing video and analyzing players.

In order for a team to be good, they have to acknowledge their victories, but keep an eye on the next challenge. A good team member doesn’t hold another member of the team back- they encourage them to do what they are good at. If a person screws up, the entire team adjusts and moves on.

A team prepares for each challenge together, and sticks with the game plan no matter what adversity presents itself. Team members don’t always have to agree, they don’t even have to “like each other” everyday. But they respect each other, and they have to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team.

I’m thankful for the last ten years, and I am thankful for my teammate. I’m thankful that it hasn’t always been easy, because if it was easy- I don’t think we would ever know how strong a team we could be.

Tiffany Verzal

Tiffany Verzal was raised in rural Nebraska, and now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband Brandon and daughter Alexis (9) and Abby (2). In 2008, Alexis (then 14-months-old) was the victim of shaken baby syndrome at the hands of her daycare provider in Texas. Alexis suffered severe brain damage and has spent over 2000 hours in rehabilitation since her injury. Tiffany continues to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury, shaken baby syndrome and child abuse. Brandon and Tiffany serve as members on Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital’s Board of Trustees. Brandon is currently the Chairman of the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund Board.