Since our big engagement at the Wodapalooza last weekend I’ve told the story to so many people about how it all happened, that I figured it’d be worth writing down. Plus, I’ll be excited to read this years later.
So, here it is:
The Engagement: and how it all came together!
As most girls who have been in long relationships do, Molly had asked me plenty of times over the past year if I’d thought about “How I was gonna do it.” Honestly, I hadn’t thought about anything beyond the fact that I knew eventually it’d just come to me. I wasn’t one to want to purposely dream up some hand-crafted scenario to make a proposal. I knew that if I waited, the moment would present itself.
Sure enough, sometime in late October Molly and her teammates (Rachel and Megan) qualified to compete at the WODAPALOOZA FITNESS FESTIVAL in Miami in January. (Note: this is the 2nd biggest CrossFit competition in the country behind the CF Games.) Shortly after, it hit me. This is it. This is the perfect time and place. I’d have a big stage, we’d be on vacation, it revolved around fitness (as our lives do), and best of all, her mind would be so preoccupied with the competition that she’d never see it coming (I was right!).
Then came the whole ring shopping and telling minimal people (including a few close friends and family members). I wanted to tell more people ahead of time how I was going to do it, but I didn’t want to risk it getting out. Going into the weekend less than 10 people knew what I was planning. I had the ring. Now I needed a plan. A few weeks prior I thought of a pretty neat Idea. I’d print out 250 business-sized cards and hand them out at the event without Molly knowing. Hopefully this would result in some really cool pictures from different areas in the crowd.
So here was my plan: (FYI: It needed to happen on Saturday because Molly’s mom and brother were traveling into town, and they knew this was going down)
Plan A: Get in contact with the event staff at Wodapalooza, pitch them my idea, and hopefully they can help me get out on the stage in front of the crowd after one of her workouts and do the proposal.
Plan B: Jump the fence after one of Mollys workouts, pass security and get on the floor. Pull her to the middle of the stage, and talk only to her, without a mic, and likely without hardly anyone else knowing what was happening as all the athletes from the previous and next heats were scampering all over the competition floor. Was hoping NOT for plan B.
About a week prior to the trip, I got on the wodapalooza website to find some contact information. Well, unfortunately there was no phone #, only a generic contact email. So, I sent an email stating “I have a unique question concerning the event, please get back to me.” About a day later I got a response from “Katie” @thewodapalooza. She asked what the question was, so then I detailed out what I planned on doing at the event. Then I waited. A few days went by with no follow up email from “Katie.” I then sent her another email asking if she got the first one. Again…..nothing. Shit Katie, c’mon. So then I decided I’d have to just get ahold of someone when I got there, hopefully not Katie. And if nothing else, Plan B.
Heading to the airport on Wednesday, I had the ring packed, but I still had a whole lot of What-If’s on my plan. We had a lay-over in Atlanta, then our second flight would take us to Miami. I was wearing a shirt that said StrongFit real large across the chest. That was super important. Who would’ve known, that if I hadn’t chose this t-shirt then this whole thing might not have happened. While walking down the aisle on the plane looking for our seat, I see a guy in his seat creep his phone up above the seat in front of him, aiming straight at me, and clearly recording a video. Oddly enough, I immediately recognized the guy from the internets. I quickly remembered his name. Although I saw him recording me, and knew it was because my shirt clearly signified we were likely headed to Miami for the same reason he was, I acted as if I didn’t know.
Once I got into my seat, I looked him up on instagram. @armenhoists (Armen Hammer) To my surprise, his title on IG is Senior Editor at FloElite. Floelite is a media production company that hosts live coverage of sporting events, and in this case, the Wodapalooza. So I just interacted with one of the main guys at the company that will be filming and live streaming all of the upcoming weekends. That turned out to be HUGE!. I was hoping to see the video he took of me on his instagram story so I’d have a reason to message him. After an hour or so went by and he never posted it, I then decided to send him a message on IG to introduce myself, and then lead into what I had brewing for the weekend. Armen was super cool about it. He sent me the name of a guy to contact who is one of the main MC’s at the event.
I contacted said guy with an IG private message…….nothing.
He also sent me the name and email of a girl who is the media director for the Wodapalooza.
I sent her an email………….nothing.
A day later, Thursday, we watched the athlete briefing video on Facebook, hosted by Guido Trinidad. Since this guy, Guido, was in charge of the WHOLE THING, I decided to message him directly.
So I sent him a message,……again….nothing.
So It was Friday, Day 1 of a 3 day event. I honestly was so overwhelmed and excited for Molly that I didn’t do anything on Friday to further pursuing Plan A. I was kinda bummed that no one had responded, and was settling in for Plan B.
Friday night before bed, I checked my email.
Oh hell yea!!
I had an email from Christine! Christine turned out to be the biggest help ever. However, the email, although promising, wasn’t anything of certainty. She said the schedule for the weekend was really tight, and she’d see what she could do, but no promises. I followed up and thanked her. She then wrote back and gave me her cell phone # and told me to text her if I didn’t hear back soon. I was so happy at this point!
Molly still has no clue any of this is going on. Her and her two team mates have literally been talking about working out non-stop for exactly 48 hours at this point. She did inform me at some point that her mom was no longer going to be able to come in on Saturday, and instead was coming Sunday. This bought me an extra day. Yes!
Saturday afternoon around 4:00 I texted Christine. She responded about an hour later with.
“We’ve got a green light for ya.”
“You’re good to go tomorrow, let’s link up at some point tomorrow to confirm but it’s onnn.
Boom! I was pumped! It was all coming together!
Sunday came, I packed the ring and 250 business cards as I left for the biggest day of my life. Whenever we got to the venue, I needed to meet up with Christine and figure this thing out.
I had an idea of what she looked like, but wasn’t certain. I had texted her, and didn’t want to wait for a response, so I started looking for her. There are probably only about 5,000+ people walking around the event at any given time, and I needed to find a girl, of which I had never seen. There are 3 different workout stages, and I knew she would be at one of them. It was around 11:30 and Molly’s next workout was around 12:00… I was getting kind of nervous.
Let me stop for a second and give you some insight into my thoughts the previous day. So there are the 3 different workout stages. 1 of them is HUGE with bleachers on both sides, housing probably triple the amount of people as the other two. The though of doing the proposal there made me nervous. One of the other area’s was overlooking the water and housed the 2nd largest crowd,…and the overlooking the water part would make for some super cool pictures. I was kinda hoping for there (also because a smaller crowd). The third area easily offered the smallest crowd, and I secretly wasn’t going to be mad if it happened there. Less people. Less nerves. I’ll refer to these as “smallest” “middle” and “biggest”.
I found Christine at the smallest stage, of which was the one Mollys team was about to workout at in ONE HOUR. That was too soon! Christine was nice as ever, and excited for me. She made me feel a bit less nervous about this. (If you’re reading this Christine, THANK YOU soooooo much for being so kind!) There were only 2 opportunities left, an hour from this exact moment of meeting Christine, on the smallest stage, or 6 hours later on the biggest stage, under the lights, with the biggest crowd of the entire weekend. Although the smaller stage was more appealing, I was nervous and wasn’t prepared to do it in an hour.
I chose the final workout. (This turned out to be a great choice!). Christine then asked me if I wanted the microphone or not. Although I sort of didn’t because I was nervous, I knew the whole thing would be so much more epic if I did. So I opted for the mic!
She then told me where to find her during Molly’s final workout, and what to do. I had 6 hours to then figure out what the hell I was going to say. However, every time I tried to sit down and come up with the exact words. I couldn’t. The idea of reciting a pre-determined script freaked me out because of the possibility of forgetting what the exact words were was too scary. I find it much easier to not have a set plan, and just talk. (I actually have a ton of experience with this per a networking group I speak at every week, and it’s rarely ever planned).
I decided against trying to have a word-for-word script. I just knew I wanted to say something about being together for 5 years, and that I was hoping to not leave as her boyfriend. Her final workout was set to start at 6:09pm on the biggest stage. I decided around 5:45 to walk through both sides of the stands and hand these cards out. I weaseled through the packed stands handing out small stacks of cards and simply saying “take one and pass them on, please read it – thanks!”
Upon handing out 249 cards, I kept one and headed to the area Christine had instructed me to earlier in the day. At this point, it was real. I was hella nervous. The workout was to start at 6:09 and was I think 16 minutes long because it was 2 parts. I was supposed to go into the staging area between the 2 parts. So I had to stand outside the fence during the first part. The nerves had set in big time. Fortunately at this point I ran into a group of friends who found out about what I was doing because they had seen one of my cards. Chatting with them settled my nerves tremendously because I was no longer standing there by myself staring at 3,000 spectators. To Chris, Cole, Jamie, Tess, and Sarah, thank you very much for those 10 minutes.
The time came for me to enter the stage. Christine came over and led me into the “blocked off” area. She then found a mic for me to use and brought it over to me. She said to walk over to the corner of the competition floor with 30 seconds left in the workout.
Side Note: The workout had 70 Thrusters, and only 1 person could be working at a time. And sure enough, Molly was the person working as the clock was running out. This was the last time she’d workout this weekend so she was going as hard as possible for her team all the way until the last second.
I had a microphone in my hand.
The clock expired.
Molly dropper her bar, then herself to the floor.
The MC announced for all athletes to stay put for just a moment as we had a special announcement.
I began to walk onto the floor, in front of a few thousand people. I forget my exact words, but I think I repeated twice for everyone to direct their attention to the middle of the floor. I was a king on the mic. For real, I felt so in charge at this point. I was walking towards Molly, who was still laying on the floor as only like 15 seconds had passed since her workout ended. She hadn’t even begun to catch her breath, let alone stand up yet.
So I then announced something in the form of: Molly Jackel please stand up.
She heard her name and looked at me like “why the…….” And then she stared crying.
Her two teammates I believe started happy-crying to, or something. They were bouncing up and down as it was apparent was was happening. I knew if I looked straight at Molly crying I’d possibly lose it too. So I spoke to the crowd.
We met 6 years ago at my gym.
And I’ve been in love with her for 5.
CrossFit is our entire life, and I came into this weekend as her boyfriend, and am hoping to leave as something else.
I took a knee. Removed the ring from my pocket. The crowd went nuts.
Molly, will you Marry me?!
She said yes!!!!!!
Thanks to @chad_b_photography for reading my card and capturing some of these amazing pictures.
Thanks to @876crossFit for one of the pictures as well.
Thanks to Brian and Justin for supporting me all weekend and not telling Rachel and Megan!
Thanks to Rachel and Megan for keeping Molly occupied all weekend, without even knowing it.
Thanks to Armen for helping me connect with Christine.
Thanks to Guido for hosting the Wodapalooza. What a cool event!
Most of all thanks to Christine for allowing me the opportunity to pull this off!