‘She’s the one’

Titus Failauga and Gabby Hanson

Sophomore linebacker Titus Failauga is a man of few words. He chooses to speak up or make his presence known only when the moment calls for it.

But for Valentine’s Day, he has had the same routine since 2013: He makes sure his girlfriend has chocolate covered strawberries.

Failauga’s girlfriend just happens to be a starting guard on the Oregon State women’s basketball team—junior Gabby Hanson.

Dating between athletes is not unheard of, but is not common either. Failauga and Hanson met in 2013, at their summer orientation in the “Bridge” program that Oregon State uses to help student-athletes adjust to life in college while being a Division-I athlete.

“We had that awkward eye contact where we looked at each other, and then looked down, and then looked back,” Failauga said. “It was touching.”

It was after the bridge program that Failauga knew he had to make his move, and after a long night of studying, he figured that breakfast would be a good start to something special.

He asked Hanson to go to The Broken Yolk in downtown Corvallis, and much to his liking she granted him with a yes. One breakfast date later and the feeling became mutual.

Hanson remembers that first date like it was yesterday, and admits she was touched.

“I couldn’t say no,” Hanson said. “I was super nervous but there was no way that I was going to turn him down, because he finally got the confidence to ask me out.”

Although Failauga has his traditions on Valentine’s day, he finds the day itself to be quite cheesy, most notably mocking himself for what he said to Hanson on their first Valentine’s day together.

“I said something like: Your eyes are as beautiful as the universe,” Failauga said with a laugh.

Hanson also remembers that quote, and considered it to be quite sweet and caring.

“He is definitely one for the cheesy lines,” Hanson said. “It was cute, but very very cheesy. But, I’ll take any compliments. It was super original and I will always remember it.”

When a girl has a best friend in a relationship, they are often around the couple a lot. That can be said for junior guard Sydney Wiese, who happens to live with Hanson and is witness to the couple’s odd-ball activities.

“The craziest thing that they do is when I come home, they will often be on the ground just wrestling,” Wiese said with a laugh. “They will literally be fighting each other, because (Hanson) is aggressive, and (Failauga) is really strong. I’ll walk in the door and they will be brawling each other.”

“I think it’s really funny because we are both such competitive people,” Hanson said. “We are always competitive with each other too.”

Failauga noted that since they are both student-athletes, they understand what the other is experiencing, making their relationship exclusive and unique.

“It’s special, because she knows exactly what I’m going through,” Failauga said. “We both are going through the same thing, and we are both going through adversity, and are both there to push our limits and see how far we can go.”

This year, Hanson happens to be playing a basketball game on Valentine’s day, but that won’t stop Failauga from making sure he keeps his tradition strong.

“I love chocolate covered strawberries and that is like my prime gift,” Hanson said.

“I’ll make sure that she has some roses after the game in addition to the strawberries,” Failauga said with a grin. “Unless they lose, then no roses and just the strawberries.”

It is easy to support each other’s athletic events, because Football is in fall and Basketball is in winter. Whether it is Hanson in the cold and rainy weather at Reser Stadium, or Failauga attending every one of the women’s basketball games, they are always cheering on the sidelines.

Amongst those reasons and many more, Failauga knows that he found a perfect match in Hanson.

“She’s the one,” Failauga said. “If you’re not going to be in a relationship full-heartedly then why be with each other?”