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Teamwork scores with football pair


Amy Kanarr and Kevin Naugle were brought together because they love a particular kind of football -- Penn State football.

It was actually a conspiracy of Nittany Lions fans that arranged the couple's introduction. The plot was hatched by Amy's aunt and Kevin's good friends, all devotees of the blue and white.

In early 1998, Amy, who grew up in Harmony on the Eastern Shore, was working in Baltimore and living in Columbia. She didn't have much time to visit her aunt, Diane Brown, in Pennsylvania. Nor was there always an extra ticket for Amy to attend Penn State games with Diane and her friends.

Kevin lived in Mohnton, Pa., a small town outside Reading. He was busy running a podiatry practice in nearby Shillington. Some weeks, attending Penn State home games with a regular crew of friends was the only relaxation Kevin allowed himself.

When his buddy Bob Strickler, a friend of Diane's, told Kevin about Amy, he mentioned her "great personality and all the other typical things that send up a red flag," Kevin remembers, laughing.

Kevin wasn't looking for a relationship on his own time, much less one set up by someone else. He politely ignored Bob and his wife Fay's appeals. Amy was equally nonchalant about her aunt's entreaties.

But at the last home game of the 1998 season, Bob, Fay and Amy's Aunt Diane finally got their wish. Amy and Kevin were introduced during breakfast at a tavern near the Penn State campus in State College, Pa. It was awkward, the couple recalls, trying to talk under the watchful eyes of three chaperones.

They exchanged a few words -- but not phone numbers -- and found that they both dreamed of visiting Australia.

"Maybe we'll go there someday," Kevin said that morning as he and Amy parted, going on to separate tailgate parties and separate seats in the stadium.

Returning to Maryland that Sunday, Amy tracked down Kevin's home phone number without asking her aunt. She called, and they talked for 90 minutes. A few weekend visits later, Amy and Kevin had to admit that Bob, Fay and Aunt Diane were right. They were perfect for each other.

Besides having similar interests in outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, they share a strong faith and say family relationships and friendships are a priority. And, of course, there is football.

Amy and Kevin began talking about marriage last May. Determined to surprise her, Kevin reminded Amy he had just finished construction of a new building for his practice and finances were tight.

The morning of the first 1999 Penn State home game, Kevin and Amy were eating breakfast at the same tavern where they met. Bob, Fay, Aunt Diane and the usual gang were there.

Everyone smiled as Kevin presented Amy with airplane tickets to Hawaii and then to Australia. He also gave her a plastic ring from a little girl's dress-up set. Amy put the ring on her pinkie, saying she'd let her ring finger wait for the "real one."

Little did she know -- even though everyone else was in on it -- that Kevin had arranged to have a plane fly over their tailgate party with a banner proclaiming his proposal.

After a surprised Amy said "Yes," champagne replaced the beer at their tailgate party, and no one toasted the happy couple with more enthusiasm than the three people who brought them together.

A few months ago, Amy, 26, moved to Shillington. She's working as a civil engineer for a firm in Reading. Kevin, 36, is still running his podiatry practice. And both are earning their master's degrees in business administration.

On April 1, Amy and Kevin married at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Shillington. The 300 guests included Amy's parents, Bonnie Brown of Harmony and John Kanarr of Hurlock, as well as Kevin's mother, Carol Naugle of Shillington. Bob, Fay and Aunt Diane were there, too. The altar flowers were dedicated in memory of Kevin's father, the late Walter Naugle.

Amy and Kevin have since embarked on their dream trip to Australia. The couple says there are plenty of Penn State football games in their future.

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