Tucson, AZ (KOLD) – A pizookie is arguably one of the best desserts in the world. Think of it as a cookie the size of a pizza. Done right, the outside crust is crisp while the middle is warm and chewy.
Wildcat senior midfielder Jaden DeGracie-Bailey loves her a good pizookie and, given the last 7-day stretch, she's earned one.
Just five days after Aunt Debbie sent the text congratulating her for setting the Arizona career assists record (20) at Texas Tech, DeGracie-Bailey learned she’d been accepted to A.T. Still University in Mesa, the next step in her career as a physician assistant.
For this physiology major set to graduate in December (a semester early), those are two big check marks on the list of major milestones.
Thing is, DeGracie-Bailey’s biggest milestone to date occurred 8 months ago.
Up until January 1st, 2016, she went by Jaden DeGracie. On January 2nd, she tacked on the “Bailey” when she said “I do” to her fiancé Travis.
“It really is the best day ever,” said Degracie-Bailey. “People say that and I thought it was kind of cheesy. But living it, it was just amazing.”
Amazing on so many levels, not the least of which was because the proposal came just five months before the wedding.
In Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the state capitol.
The Wildcat soccer team had traveled to play BYU in a 2015 preseason exhibition match. Part of the trip included a team scavenger hunt that took the ladies into the capitol where a grander surprise awaited their junior leader.
“He just came walking up,” said DeGracie-Bailey. “I was so excited I barely squeaked out a yes.”
Several years before, she saw him from across the room. Her words. And if it sounds like the beginning of a romantic comedy, well, here’s how the scene plays out:
INT. CHURCH – DAY
The sign reads: DOLLAR LUNCH.
JADEN drags in. Haggard from soccer practice. Physically, she’s present. Mentally, not so much. Maybe it’s that upcoming test. Maybe it’s fatigue.
Her eyes happen upon a YOUNG MAN. TRAVIS BAILEY. He holds a motorcycle helmet by his side. Carries himself with a sense of bravado that, to him, may project confidence but to Jaden may reek of obnoxiousness. In her mind, all that’s missing are the frosted tips.
Jaden leans into her FRIEND and TEAMMATE LEXE.
That guy likes the gym a little too much.
Travis spots her in the crowd. He smiles. Game on.
“He came over and talked to me,” said DeGracie-Bailey. “I realized, oh, he actually has a brain.”
Indeed he does. Bailey graduated from Arizona in 2013 with a degree in finance then went to work for his family’s company, Park N Shade, the builder of steel carports.
“I was so intrigued by him and fascinated by him,” she said. “We never stopped talking.”
Following his proposal, Degracie-Bailey went straight into the business of soccer with little to no time to worry about a wedding. Enter Becky aka Mom.
“I just sent her my Pinterest board and my mom made it come to life,” said DeGracie-Bailey. “I showed up and it was better than I could ever imagined.”
The wedding was held in her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona. Set outside in a family-friend’s yard with Christmas trees as the backdrop, DeGracie-Bailey walked the aisle in a sparkling mermaid-cut dress.
The reception included a truck dedicated to, what else? One of Degracie-Bailey's favorite decadent delights. Pizookies.
“I called it one big party,” said DeGracie-Bailey.
The party hasn’t stopped. And by the way things are looking, between setting a school record, and graduating from college, the party will continue through year’s end.
That she gets to cross off these milestones with her best friend? It’s about as sweet as a pizookie.
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