Sarah and Paul
How We Met
Paul and I met in college. My second year of school, I transferred from the local art school to The Ohio State University, and decided that if I was going to go to school there, I had to try out for the band. It’s lucky I did, because not only did I manage to make it into the band and have some of the most amazing experiences of my life, I also met the man of my dreams!
During the summer, the marching band has practice sessions so that everyone can get ready for tryouts. After the first practice session I went to, I was walking back to my car from the stadium, and I heard someone behind me “Psst!!”-ing insistently. Normally, I would have completely ignored them, but this time I turned around, and that’s when I first met Paul. He had been in the band for a year already, and wanted to know who this new girl trying out would be.
After four years of being in the band together, hanging out constantly, and becoming good friends, we finally decided to go on a hike with just the two of us, and later that year decided that we would officially start dating. Now we’re chasing life down together, and neither of us would have it any other way.
How He Asked
Given how we met and got to know one another, as well as how awesome it is to be in the OSU marching band, the OSUMB is a big deal to us. But on the day of the proposal, waiting for him to pop the question was the last thing on my mind. My Dad had given Paul and me tickets to the Ohio State vs. Michigan game, which, if you aren’t in the loop, is the absolute biggest game an Ohio State fan could go to, so I had all of my attention focused on getting ready for game day. It has also been two years now since I was in the band, and this would be my first time back in Ohio Stadium for a football game or to St. John Arena for a Skull Session (where the band performs before the game, and my personal favorite time of game day) since.
The day before the game, when Paul and I were planning how to get there and where to park, Paul insisted that we get there at 7:30 in the morning to see the band practice. I kept arguing that 7:30 is really early… I was worried about being stuck just walking around in the cold for two hours before the skull session even starts! (Remember how I said that it’s my first game since being in the band – I had no idea where to park or how bad traffic is or anything like that, but it still seemed way early.) Paul’s reasoning was that his younger sister is in the band, and he wanted to tell her hi and see where her spot is in the show. I sort of gave up arguing about it, but I still didn’t quite understand. Goodness knows, he and I have had our fair share of band practices in our time, I had no real desire to watch another one just yet, and we are fully aware how charts for a marching band show work, it would be plenty easy for her to just tell him where she is in certain sets and he be able to find her! But oh well. I went to bed early that night, got up long before the sun that Saturday, got ready, and drove to his house.
We drove to campus, and made it to the practice field right on time! The band was just starting their uniform inspection, so we hadn’t missed any of their rehearsal. We stood there and watched for a bit, and then I noticed Paul waving at someone behind me. I turned around, and it was my Mom, sisters, and Grandma! This is where I start to look pathetically oblivious, but I didn’t think anything of it. My Mom used to surprise me by showing up to Skull Sessions while I was in the band all the time! I figured she just woke up that morning, decided she wanted to go, and talked my sisters and Grandma into going with her. Then, a little bit later, my Dad and Step-Mom showed up too, but that set off no alarms, as they were going to the game with us, so I figured they just showed up early too, and knew where we would be.
Finally, the practice came to an end. The band members started milling about a bit to talk to some of the Michigan band members who were on the field as well, and I heard the band director say over the loudspeaker, “Anyone who is participating in the ‘thing,’ please make your way to the front of the field.” I figured it was just some pep band some of them were going to do – that happens all the time. ALL the time. (Or I’m just dumb, it could be that too.)
After a minute, we finally find Paul’s sister, standing at the edge of the field waving. Paul grabs my hand (not unusual), and we make our way down to say hi. By then, I notice that she’s standing right in front of where the band people, who I assume are about to start their “thing,” are formed up and starting to play, so I back out of the way, already embarrassed that I was in the middle of everything. But I looked back, and Paul’s sister had started to play with them, and Paul walked over to me, grabbed my hand again, said, “No, this is for you,” and pulled me back into the middle of the group. The band was playing an tune that combined “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” OSU’s Fight Song, and the Alma Mater, which I was told later that his sister arranged. Paul gave me a big hug, had me take off my gloves, and then he got down on one knee and asked, simply and wonderfully, “Will you marry me?” I replied,”You know I will,” and after a hug and kiss that seemed to last forever in the best of ways, he had to grab ahold of my hand to put the ring on because I was shaking so badly.
After the band finished playing, I got to hug and say hi to tons of friends who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, as well as some new band members that his sister recruited (she had asked for people to volunteer the day before), and my closest family members. Paul and I were reflecting later that I barely shed a tear, as normally I cry at everything, so we both thought I’d turn into a leaky faucet the second he got down on one knee. But at the time, I felt full of emotion, but no need to really cry. Everything was just right and happy and perfect. I now get to spend forever with my best friend in the world!
And to top it off, a few hours later, we beat Michigan.