A year ago on this Friday night (the date was actually Sept. 8th, but it was a Friday), Curveball (Joel) and I were at the Twins game. I have to previce this story by saying that he had been slightly annoying me all week...not for any real reason, other than he had been sort of weird, not himself...I couldn't put my finger on it but he wasn't himself. It wasn't anything major, but when he showed up at my place "late" (by this I mean he arrived about a half hour later than he had planned on arriving), I was even more in a tizzy. I'll admit it, I sort of laid into the poor guy. We were taking the city bus down to the Dome from my place in south Mpls and I always liked to arrive plenty early. But as we were waiting for the bus, I told him not to worry about it, I wasn't still mad. In fact, in an attempt to demonstrate my love and relax the guy, I told him that I had actually bought his birthday present that day.
We arrived at the dome and Joel had to pick up the tickets. Joel had arranged to buy tickets for "good seats" behind home plate. He said something about getting these seats for our "anniversary" (we had been dating 6 months). I didn't think anything of it...hey, I'll take good seats anytime I can get them!
We settled in. There was a family with two young boys sitting next to us...they were really cute and wearing "Joe Mauer sideburns". I did notice Joel being sort of fidgety at one point, playing with a straw or something in a way not typical of him. I almost made a smart comment like, "Nervous or something?", but I didn't want to resurrect the tension between us from earlier in the evening.
Garza was pitching that night, but not having his best outing. We were behind in the 5th inning and it looked like Garza may already be done for the night. Before the Twins came up to bat in the 5th, I looked up to the Jumbotron and read "Risa, I love you. Will you marry me? Love, Joe."
Now the first thing I want to point out is that it read "Joe". The man sitting next to me is named "Joel". He never goes by Joe. I read it a second and probably third time. My heart started racing. I'm thinking...how many other Risa's could be here...did they mean Joel? (Note: this is not the sort of thing you want to be wrong about). It really was one of those surreal moments, when time takes on a different dimension. Everything became a little fuzzy. I finally realized the woman next to me (who Joel had clued in while I was in the bathroom) was asking me if it was "yes" AND Joel was trying to get on his knee and get the ring out of his pocket AND there was a cameraman right in front of us.
The second thing I want to point out is that the answer was always, without a doubt, "YES". Joel asked me exactly how I wanted to be asked--at a Twins game on the jumbotron. I love baseball. I think it's very romantic (as long as you both love baseball--Joel had actually "found" me on match.com by typing "twins baseball" in the common interest search). And I think any man who will ask that question in front of 40,000 people...well, you don't have to doubt their committment.
Obviously, I wasn't expecting a proposal that evening. He didn't give me any hint that he was going to propose that night...and after the fact, I realized that his "weirdness" all week was due to his nervousness. He had spent the night before (a rare evening we were not together) posting on one of the baseball blogs about his plans to propose.
Back to the proposal...
It was wonderful. We were on the jumbotron, but the cameraman had a hard time capturing it because a hotdog vendor had decided our row was the place to set up shop (and Joel was too nervous to tell him to go away). Joel had a wonderful engagement ring for me...a 1987 World Series ring (a replica for fans). Both of us were shaking when the whole thing was done.
Shortly after the proposal, I got a cellphone call from my boss. I said to Joel, "I can't believe work is calling me right now. I am so not dealing with problems at work." But on the other end, Sue was asking, "Did you say 'yes'?" One of my co-workers was at the game, saw it all and had called Sue. Then Joel asked me if I was going to call Julie, my best friend (who lives in New York).
I was dying to call her, so I went out to the concession area...made the call and got her voicemail. I left a message something like, "Umm, we're at the Twins game and Joel just sort of proposed..." Julie picked up the phone before I could finish and laughed, "he sort of proposed..."
It was a magical evening. The Twins came up to bat in the bottom of the 5th and started hitting. Neshek started pitching and got the win.
Really though, I think I was the winner that night.
Oh ya, one final..."I (meaning "moi") was such a dope for being mad at you" moment...when we got back to my place, Joel went to his car and opened up the trunk and pulled out a dozen roses. That's why he was a half hour late that night...he had stopped to buy roses for me and hid them in the trunk, so I wouldn't see them till post-proposal. The whole proposal tells you why I love the man...he pays attention, he really tries to do those things that matter.
So yup, we got married June 3rd. It wasn't a baseball-themed wedding, but we did have Twins mini-helmuts on the cake. I think, as Joel said that evening a year ago, we'll have lots of fun growing old together. And that will include lots of baseball games!