If marriage proposals at sporting events are no longer head-turning these days, then credit Ryan De Hamer for giving an well-worn idea a new twist.
He didn't take his girlfriend to a game to propose to her. He did it at a game in which she was playing.
Immediately after the Iowa State women's basketball team's defeated Alabama State on Sunday afternoon, Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly walked onto the court with a microphone at De Hamer's request. Under the guise of thanking fans for their support and wishing them happy new year, Fennelly spoke for several minutes, eventually bringing up the importance of family and how much he appreciated that center Anna Prins was part of the Iowa State family.
At that point, De Hamer walked onto the court and Prins began to get an inkling what was happening. De Hamer had his longtime girlfriend to join him at mid-court, produced a diamond ring, dropped to one knee and much to the delight of the fans in the stands, Prins happily accepted.
"I was crying," Prins, a 6-foot-7 senior, told the Ames Gazette. "I couldn’t have asked for a better place, just with all the people that were involved: Coach [Fennelly], my team, the fans in Hilton, my family was there. Pretty special."
De Hamer and Prins have been dating since they met during her freshman year three years ago. Her teammates have teased De Hamer about when he was going to propose, which led him to concoct his clever plan a few weeks ago.
In his postgame news conference, Fennelly told reporters he was happy to play a small role in De Hamer's plan.
Said Fennelly, "He set the bar pretty high for all the other boyfriends."