There are so many ways a big public marriage proposal can go wrong. The recipient could say no. The proposer could drop or lose the ring. The elaborate setup could fall apart. Or, as in the case of one couple at a Siena College basketball game last week, the girlfriend could be freakishly good at hitting a half-court shot.
Erin Tobin, a graduate of Siena, has season tickets for the men’s basketball games, so her boyfriend, Steve Duckett, decided that a game at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., would be a great venue for his proposal. According to the Times Union, he got in touch with the Siena Saints’ PR firm to come up with the perfect scenario. They finally decided to invite Tobin to the court during a timeout to attempt a half-court shot for a $500 Dunkin’ Donuts gift certificate. The plan was that Duckett would be waiting, disguised in the DD Cuppie mascot costume, and get down on one knee after she missed the shot.
Tobin got the invitation for the Dunkin’ Donuts contest in advance and practiced once before the game, failing miserably. “I figured, ‘Forget it, I’m never making this,'” she told the Times Union. Duckett’s plan kind of relied on her not making it, anyway, because they didn’t have much time for the proposal before the game had to begin.
But she did make it, and as the crowd went wild, Duckett lost sight of Tobin doing a celebratory dance. His first reaction was, “Oh, no! And then I said to myself, of course she would hit the shot.”
This should be a good lesson for Duckett not to underestimate his future life partner.
Tobin was pretty pleased with herself, as she should be. “I was jumping up and down after hitting the shot since my brother said he’d give me $50 if I even hit the rim,” she said in a press release.
“She makes the shot, and then for me, she disappears,” he told the paper. “I can’t see out the sides of Cuppie. I didn’t know where she went.”
Fortunately, someone else on the court led her back to Cuppie. “As soon as the mascot got down on one knee, I knew that was Steve in there, and I knew what was happening,” she said.
“The cup of coffee was so excited, he wants to marry that girl that just knocked down a half-court shot,” the announcer said as the two embraced.
Last year, when Olympic athletes were proposing to each other left and right in Rio, marriage and sex therapist Jane Greer told Yahoo Style that this kind of public proposal is a perfectly fine way to start a marriage.
“When it’s a public proposal, typically it’s in a venue where there’s already a lot of excitement going on, and people are already high and excited, so it can be a way to enhance that excitement and build upon it and then share it with a lot of people all at once,” she said. “The desire to share with a lot of people has sort of become part of our society. It’s not, ‘Look at how narcissistic they are; they have to have this big grand gesture.’ It’s more part of the playing field these days. … It’s not a statement of [whether] your relationship is healthy or not. It’s a statement of how socially active and involved you are, and how important it is to you.”