With the time they have on their hands (see: Kentucky's practice schedule) and unique pressures they face, football specialists can build some strong, special relationships within amongst themselves. The friendship of Mississippi State punter Baker Swedenburg and long snapper Winston Chapman are no exception, a connection that's so much like family that it eventually will lead to that label becoming official.
After the 2011 Alabama/Mississippi State game, Chapman's family attended a tailgate hosted by Swedenburg's parents, which is when Baker was first introduced to his snapper's older sister, Claire. The two wouldn't meet again until the following fall, after the Bulldogs' opener against Jacksonville State. The next week Claire and Swedenburg went on their first date, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ I didn’t care at all,” Chapman said, remembering his reaction to Swedenburg asking him about the relationship. “I think her being an older sister, it’s different. If she were my younger sister, maybe I’d be protective. But I think it was understood. He was my friend, so I knew he wasn’t gonna do anything.”
Swedenburg proposed to Claire following April's Maroon-White Spring Game and she accepted. She realizes, however, that her brother and future husband are always going to have their own special relationship:
"They’re kind of obnoxious when they’re together,” she said. “They have all these weird jokes.”
“She hates us on road trips,” baby brother interrupted.
“Winston does this thing where if I like a song he makes up dumb lyrics to it,” Claire went on.
“We’re a singing group,” Baker explained, “the two of us.”
“They love each other,” Claire said before rolling her eyes. “I don’t understand half the things they talk about.”
Ah, sibling love. The Bulldogs open their season on August 31 in Dallas against Oklahoma State.