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Secret dating professional athletes

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Though he was still in the minors, she wanted to be with him.

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“That was the hardest thing for me moving up here.” It's a little easier when Vince is around.“It's different, because we're in an Escalade, he has diamonds on his neck, he's big, he's black — in this area where there's maybe four black kids that go to my son's school — so he's got to be somebody,” she says.“So it's a different reception.” Of course, that, in and of itself, “is very hard to deal with.” For Kim and Troy Brown, it took seven years of dating — four while he was with the Pats — before they realized that they could mesh their lives, even if they were separated by 800 miles.Barely a month after her husband won the Super Bowl, culminating a season in which one sportswriter called him the greatest Patriot to ever play the game, Troy Brown was unceremoniously released from the team. It's all part of the sometimes wonderful but not always glamorous world of being the wife of a professional athlete.Sure, there are Playmates (Mike Piazza's wife), Swedish uberbabes (Tiger Woods's wife, among the many), and pampered young things (can you say poor, predictable Vanessa Bryant? But those wife-of-a-pro-athlete images don't square with women like Kim Brown, Bianca Wilfork, Karen Varitek, and Kristin Mirabelli. And barring the playful diamond and gemstone concoctions anchoring the talon-tipped fingers of Bianca Wilfork, there's no Bennifer bling to be found.“For financial reasons I don't have to work, but for my peace of mind and for my own self-worth, I have to work, and he understands that.” Once he got it, they married in 1997.

Two short weeks later, “he had to go to minicamp, and he was gone for the year.” That might be the hardest part of being the wife of a professional athlete: Your husband's gone all the time.

They danced, even though Kim says “he was kinda nerdy looking.” A gunfight broke up the party, but Troy scored Kim's phone number by tricking her friend into giving it to him.

“I had a job, I was starting my career, and I thought, well, maybe I shouldn't be dating a guy in college. I had just bought a new little sports car, and I think that's why he liked me, because I had a nice car,” Kim says, laughing.

“If someone had told me I would [marry a baseball player], I would have never believed it,” she says.

Kristin Mirabelli — an easygoing blonde who played college softball — met Doug, also a Red Sox catcher, their freshman year at Wichita State.

Though Troy played football when they met, he was no standout that first year they were together. But folding their lives into their spouses' major-league dreams demanded major adjustment and sacrifice.