Will you marry me?
WORTHINGTON -- It was the most exciting of times, the most nervous of times, and perhaps the most unexpected of times, but most of all, the most special and memorable of times for two couples -- Adam Diekmann and Blake Ahlers; and Michael Pittmann and Whitney Cox.
This is a tale of two proposals.
A diamond on the diamond
Diekmann and Ahlers have known each other for quite a while, going all the way back to Diekmann's freshman year of high school, and have been dating for about six and a half years total.
"It was something I had wanted to do for a long time," said Diekmann about getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend.
Diekmann plays summer league baseball for the Wilmont Cardinals, and since they've been dating, Ahlers has attended every game. So, Diekmann thought, "What better way to start off the summer and make it memorable?" He decided to propose at one of the Cardinals' games.
Ahlers thought Diekmann might get around to popping the question, but had no inkling of the plan her boyfriend was hatching.
"I had no idea," she said. "They kept it really quiet!"
Soon, according to Diekmann, "the entire team knew what was going to happen." Diekmann asked some teammates, including Steven Kremer and Jay Scheidt, for some help with the plan, and they gave him advice and more ideas.
Together, the guys made up a story that every fan who came to the game would have their name put into a hat to see who would throw the first pitch of the baseball season --but in actuality, only Ahler's name was put into the hat.
"I was really nervous in the days leading up to the game, but when game time came, the game helped to keep my mind off of it," Diekmann said.
At the start of the game, a couple of Diekmann's fellow players walked out in front of the stands to welcome everyone to the new season, and promptly drew Ahlers' name.
"I was a little reluctant and wasn't prepared for that," Ahlers said, but she did walk out to pitch.
Meanwhile, the guys in the dugout yelled out, "Why doesn't Diekmann catch?"
The plan was running like a well-oiled machine, and the success continued as Ahlers threw the ball, Diekmann caught it, and, while she was still standing on the mound, he walked up and got down on one knee. Their special moment was at last about to happen. Diekmann said, "This is something I've wanted to do for a while," and popped the question in the middle of the ballfield.
"I was so happy when he asked me that I didn't even know what the ring looked like until 10 minutes afterward," exclaimed Ahlers.
The answer was, of course, in the affirmative, and a relationship that began when Ahlers came up and talked to him during her high school's homecoming coronation was now sealed with a ring.
"Who would have guessed that when you start dating in ninth and 10th grade that it would eventually lead all the way to this," Ahlers said. "I feel lucky to be with him -- he's pretty much my best friend."
Diekmann is currently pursuing a degree in agronomy and plans on graduating in the next year and a half. He hopes to have a career in farming or chemicals. Ahlers has worked at Mane Attraction in Fulda for two and a half years and plans to continue working there.
Taking the plunge
Skydiving is an activity that many have never done, some hope to do eventually, and others would never do, even if you paid them. However, skydiving was on the bucket list for Cox and Pittmann.
"It was something that I thought would be years and years down the road, after we had been together for a while," said Cox about the prospect of jumping out of a plane. "I never thought I would be going skydiving and getting engaged."
Pittmann had other plans.
"I wanted to do something different that I had never heard of -- something that would be a thrill," he said about his elaborate proposal plan.
Pittmann's plan took a few months to put into action.
"I actually first thought about it a year ago, and then by winter 2012 began to contact airports and skydiving services," he explained. "Skydiving Adventures in Luverne was the most accommodating for what I intended to do, and by the end of February, I had a date planned."
Pittmann, who is working as an intern at AGCO in Jackson this summer, concocted a story that he had a work picnic on May 12th. Before they left Cox's home in Adrian that morning, Pittmann secretly packed jeans and a sweatshirt for her --attire more appropriate for skydiving than the dress she knew she would be wearing for the fictional picnic.
As soon as they pulled out of town, Cox quickly realized that Pittmann was driving in the opposite direction toward Luverne.
"I was kind of confused, and because he is not from here. I didn't think he knew where he was going," she recalled. "I tried to tell him to turn around, but he said we were 'doing something spontaneous.' I had no idea what could be spontaneous in Luverne. I have lived around here all my life and never done anything spontaneous or crazy in Luverne."
But Pittmann took the Luverne exit and drove to the airport. As they entered the airport area, Cox noticed a sign advertising Skydiving Adventures.
"I was not nervous, just excited," Cox said. "I had always wanted to go skydiving."
The couple waited about an hour for parties before them to finish and were both readied and instructed on what do during this time. Finally, it was their turn to take a 20-minute plane ride to 10,000 feet.
"I only thought about the proposal, and was not nervous at all," said Pittmann. "I didn't think about the jump until I was jumping out of the plane."
The soon-to-be groom jumped first and floated down to earth. He was unstrapped and given the ring, and then endured a five-minute wait for "the love of his life" to land. Also on the ground were friends and family, some with cameras to document the occasion. They had a banner concealed that read "Whitney, will you marry me?" and unveiled it while she was still in the air. Pittmann got down on one knee and officially proposed once Cox was on the ground.
The skydiving proposal was done, but their life story was just beginning.
"It was definitely not the typical dinner and roses at a nice restaurant," reflected Cox. "I figured it would be something more unique, as Michael is a really good planner."
Cox and Pittmann met playing on a co-ed flag football team at South Dakota State University. They both have one more year of school left to complete. Pittmann is studying mechanical engineering, and Cox is pursuing a degree in nursing. They plan an August 2014 wedding. Their proposal can be viewed on YouTube.com: Search Michael Pittman and click on Skydiving Engagement.