Everything was in place and everyone had their cues. The surprise of a lifetime that Caleb Myers had prayed about and planned was about to be executed.
Following the BJU Bruins’ home-opening soccer match Sept. 12, Myers, a senior midfielder and team captain from Greenville, South Carolina, escorted Sydney Leigh Martin from her Alumni Stadium seat to center field ostensibly to congratulate teammates for their 9-0 triumph.
Encircled by players attempting to mask their wide grins and with a banner “Sydney, will you marry me?” unfurled by former teammate Nick Marks and his recent bride Alyssa, Myers took a knee on the soft sod and repeated the words in the banner.
“And the rest is history,” said Myers, who has been dating his now fiancée since March 2019.
Under the Lights — Perfect
The unique setting was ideal for Myers.
“I came up with the idea after having a conversation with Jane Smith (director of field experiences in the School of Education),” Myers said. “She suggested that I do it at a soccer game this season. I decided that the best time to do it would be after the game as to not interfere with my psyche too much.”
Added Smith, a longtime friend of the family: “Caleb came by my office one day two weeks ago to show me a picture of the ring. He was so excited about getting engaged, and we talked about how and when. He wanted it to be a surprise, but he wanted to do it soon — the ring was burning a hole in his pocket!
“I just said, ‘You should talk to Coach (Matthew) Hotchkin and see if you can do it on the field after a soccer game. Sydney wouldn’t be expecting it, and it would be a big deal.’ Caleb liked the idea, and he planned the rest. I thought of the soccer game because soccer is a big part of Caleb’s life. He has played all four years and is a captain this year.”
Getting the Go-Ahead
Myer consulted with the coaching staff and clued in teammates.
“I talked to both coaches the week before and cleared it with them,” Myers said. “I got both (assistant coach) Greg Fulton and Matt Hotchkin to help me with the proposal. I had Matt distract her while Greg handed me the ring. My teammates were in on it, too. I had told them the night before my intentions of proposing after our game.
“I was very nervous prior to the game. However, once the game started and I got my first touch on the ball I felt a sense of peace about the game and the proposal. We have discussed the second week of May for the wedding but have not settled on a final date.”