Will Johnson sat crouched on his heels, leaning against the wall of the Morgan Sports Center’s upstairs press box, cradling his head in his hands.
“I’m nervous,” he said, his brown eyes wide.
He tucked a navy blue and red jewelry box into his right pocket. The box held a matching sapphire and diamond necklace and ring set.
He craned his neck to look out the window of the press box, spotting his wife, Jobina’s softball jersey — No. 11.
The Johnsons celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary the night before. They made a low-key dinner at home and Jobina, whom Will described as being very low maintenance, remarked that this is the first anniversary where he didn’t pull out all the stops.
Little did Jobina know Will had already picked out the jewelry set and was planning on re-proposing to his wife with the help of her softball teammates.
“Softball is her thing. She played in grade school and in college at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina,” said Johnson.
He checked the time and looked out the window again.
“When I proposed the first time it was in our apartment, just me and her on Valentine’s Day.”
He pictured a vow renewal ceremony on the beach to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
“I saw her on Jackson State University’s campus and she walked across the plaza with three or four of her friends. I told my friend next to me ‘that’s the girl I’m going to marry.’”
The Johnsons have three kids — Shamar, 21, Angelica, 19, and Alaysia, 15 — who all knew about the re-proposal.
All of a sudden, it was time. Jobina was third up to bat. She hit the opposing team’s pitch, and ran to first, but got tagged out.
“Jobina! Stay there and coach first,” yelled the team’s coach, who was in on the surprise.
Each teammate took a red rose and walked towards Jobina, who stood at first base looking very confused.
They handed her a single rose, and then Will appeared last with two carnations; one white and one blue.
Jobina held the roses as Will got down on one knee.
“Jobina Alexandra Johnson. Delicate as lace. Elegant as wine. Tough as steel. Will you marry me again?”
Jobina nodded, a tear escaping from her eye. The couple hugged and Will slid on her new ring.
After the proposal, Jobina continued to wipe away tears.
“I’m surprised, a little bit embarrassed, shocked. Oh my goodness,” Jobina said. “I always say I don’t want anything, I’m not a big gift person, so I was really shocked!"