Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Best Man Speech

For Shawn Smith
December 11th, 2010
Smyrna, Tennessee

Hi there. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ken Devine, and it's an honor to be Shawn's Best Man. And now for a story.

About seven years ago, two guys were looking for girls in Nashville on New Year's Eve. These guys spent most of their evening at a local bar, but instead of trying to pick up girls, they just ended up watching college football. So after an uneventful evening, they decided to pack it up and head home a few hours into the new year. But that's when things got really desperate.

So, these guys made it back to the apartment complex where they lived. But despite not having talked to one girl the entire night, they weren't about to call it quits. So in a last-ditch effort, they drove around the apartment complex, just patrolling the streets and combing for any sign of life. And in particular, any female who might have been walking around by herself at 3 in the morning.

As if that wasn't pathetic enough, things sunk to a new low when they rolled down their windows and started screaming things like "WHERE ARE YOU?" and "COME OUT OF THERE!" To no one's surprise, no girl actually took the bait.

Shawn and I came up empty-handed that night, but we never stopped in our pursuit of women. Over the years, we had some success here and there, but never really found the girl we were supposed to be with.

About five years later, it was early 2009, and that's when Shawn met Niki. In the beginning they were friends who worked together at State Farm, and later discovered that they lived in the same apartment complex. And much like me and Shawn, Shawn and Niki quickly bonded over a love for Pearl Jam and rock music and college football.

Now, at the time I was actually living in New York, but I kept hearing from Shawn about this new girl he was hanging out with, and how cool and attractive she was. And I just remember thinking that it wouldn't be long before their friendship developed into something more. And that's exactly what happened.

I didn't actually meet Niki until I was in town for Shawn's bachelor party a few months ago. But when I finally did, my first impression of her didn't change at all. Niki is passionate, energetic, and extremely hard-working. She's smart, strong-minded, and beautiful. And she just has this great, magnetic spirit to her. Niki's just somebody you want to be around.

Now, Shawn on the other hand... No, Shawn's a great guy. To me, Shawn is the most honest, loyal, kind, and understanding person I know. He's my best friend. And in his relationship with Niki, he's grown to not only be this incredible selfless partner, but also a loving father to a child whose now his. And if that doesn't speak volumes about his level of commitment to both Niki and Aidan, then I don't know what does, because that's what love's all about.

But, I think one of the best things about Shawn is that he's a believer. Through all of the ups and downs in his life—whether it's Ole Miss's upset of Florida in the Swamp in 2008, or the really dangerous car accident that he was lucky to survive about five years ago—Shawn's always believed in God's plan. And it's not just something that you learn in church. For Shawn, it's more of a natural sense of God's purpose in his life, and an understanding that no matter what happens, God's always in control. And it's this purpose—this direction—that's led him directly to Niki and Aidan, whom he'll continue to love and bless just as deeply as God has loved and blessed him.

Now, being single for the better part of your life isn't easy. I can attest to just how hard it can be. But what makes me happy is knowing that despite all the loneliness, and after all the dead ends and times of wondering if things were ever gonna change, the best guy I know married the best girl for him. And there's no better feeling than knowing where you're supposed to be in life and who you're supposed to be spending it with. So, while that search is finally over for Niki and Shawn, a great new adventure is about to begin.

All that's to say that with Shawn now officially off the market, and me getting married next year, I think it's safe to say that our days of creeping on girls in apartment complexes at 3 in the morning are over. But that's probably a good thing.

So, with that, I just want to say congratulations to the bride and groom. Niki and Shawn, I also want to thank you for being such great people, such wonderful friends, and for positively affecting the lives of each and every person in this room. It's why we're here for you now, and why we'll always be there for you.

I love you guys.