Public proposals are usually a bad idea. They put your significant other under a lot of pressure and they take a ton of time and money depending on how elaborate you get. Really, what do they achieve anyway? You proposed to your girlfriend at a baseball game, congratulations! You asked Bill Murray to hand her the ring, good for you! That’ll really show her how much you love her.
Of all the places or events you could propose in public, sporting events have to be the worst. There are usually cameras everywhere and people just want to get on with watching the game. If she says yes, people clap because it’s out of the way and they can get back to their team. If she says no, you’ve provided everyone with endless entertainment and embarrassment for both of you.
The public, grand wedding proposal is becoming more popular in the days of social media and cameras everywhere, so it would make sense that there are seemingly more fails than ever too. But do not be fooled, for several teams from across the globe, particularly minor league and semi-pro teams, fake failed proposals for publicity. It happened in New Britain, Connecticut in 2013 when the Rock Cats sent out two employees out onto the field and told the woman to reject her fake boyfriend. All it achieved was making the team look silly.
The real rejections are pretty entertaining at least. It got us wondering, what are the funniest, most embarrassing failed proposals at sporting events? So here’s our list of the Top 15 Proposal Fails at Sporting Events. There were a lot of potential candidates, so maybe it’s time women start proposing to their boyfriends to show us how it’s done.
15 Astros Fan Loses Girl, and Game
What better way to spice up a boring baseball game than by proposing to your girlfriend? You could argue by not going at all and having a nice night out, catch a diner and a movie maybe, but that’s so predictable. This mystery Astros fan was going to make his proposals something special.
He arranged a deal with the Astros. The kiss cam would focus on him and his girlfriend at some point during the game, and that’s when he’d make the proposal. Nothing too over the top, but still fun and interesting.
The only problem was his girlfriend not only said no. She was so angry she dumped a carton of popcorn on his head and stormed off. At least he got to keep the ring, and the $300 bill for the tickets and video from the Astros.
Later, a local news team talked to the Astros office about the incident. “Who knows,” said one of the marketers optimistically, “maybe she went to get a drink.” Maybe, or maybe that was her way of saying yes.
14 Sharapova Fans in Russia
Fans ask athletes they don’t know to marry them all the time. If I got a chance to meet Cam Newton, the first thing I’d do is try to put a ring on it. It’s usually some drunk woman or man holding up signs in an attempt to get on camera, but every so often one of these attempts does evoke a reaction.
Such was the case with Maria Sharapova during Russia’s World Cup games in 2014. No, she wasn’t playing in it, but that didn’t stop four Russian fans from holding up tacky signs. The camera caught them and the image of the dudes wearing Russian flag face paint got to Sharapova.
“I missed the goal but I didn't miss this...I have to marry all 4?” she said on Twitter. No, Ms. Sharapova, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in Russia anyway. Good on her for having some fun with it though.
13 Boise State Player’s Proposal Ruined by Reporter
The 2007 Fiesta Bowl might be one of the greatest college football games ever. Underdog Boise State managed to win the game in overtime on a Statue of Liberty play thanks to star running back Ian Johnson. Johnson would then go on to ask his girlfriend, a Boise State cheerleader to marry him. It was a perfect moment for the cameras and a great way to end his college football career.
The proposal itself wasn’t the problem though. Seconds after the run, Johnson was being interviewed by a reporter about the play. After the interview was over, the reporter spat out “Now, I know you're going to propose to your girlfriend! Congratulations!” Unfortunately for Johnson, his girlfriend was standing right next to him when he said it.
Johnson immediately broke away from her and the reporter and got down on one knee. The scene was still touching, but totally ruined by the loud mouth reporter. What on earth was he thinking? He probably just wanted to insert himself into the narrative he didn’t belong in, like that guy who said he wanted to marry Cam Newton earlier.
12 Duke Upside-down Sign
Okay, this is another instance of a fan asking an athlete to marry them. Instead of some dumb frat boys though, this time we have a sorority girl who can’t figure out which way is up and which way is not up.
There’s not much to go on other than this picture, but there’s so much going on here it has to make the list. The woman is holding the sign upside-down, yes, but the look on her face is one of apprehension and confusion. It’s almost like she doesn’t know which way is the right way up and guessed, hoping she’d be right. The man in the green and orange next to her looks like he just saw a naked woman for the first time, or possibly wondering about his own marriage proposal to Zoubek. The two men behind this woman are looking down at the sign, and as if processing x-ray vision, are sporting condescending, smug smiles.
Anyway, the sign was for Duke Basketball center Brian Zoubek, who played from 2006 to 2010. He opened a bakery in 2012 called Dream Puffz, which probably explains why the old guy with the glasses is about to fall asleep.
11 Joey Chestnut's Dog Show
There’s just something inherently funny about an American dude named Joey Chestnut who’s a competitive eater, best known for slamming down wieners on the fourth of July. It gets funnier what that same person proposes to his girlfriend on said day, under the shadow of a giant hotdog sign.
He didn’t even do it after the event, either. Usually the athlete – that term’s a stretch here – will wait until they win the game before proposing, like Ian Johnson. That way if they end up losing, they can slink off and pretend like they were never going to propose in the first place. I guess the eight-time world champion must have been confident. He did end up winning, so it must have paid off.
His girlfriend deserves some credit here. Unlike most women on the list who couldn’t take a fun little proposal that puts you in the spotlight in front of thousands, possibly even millions of people and forces you to make a decision that you could end up regretting for the rest of your life, she said yes. There you go guys, the key is you gotta shove some tube shaped pieces of mystery meat down your throat in a hurry.
10 Australian Soccer Show
Nothing is more Australian than the title of this soccer show: “The Footy Show.” Really makes you want to sit down and watch when you’re done punching kangaroos and throwing prawns on the bah-bee.
It’s also a great place to propose to your girlfriend... if you want her to angrily storm off the set.
In what looks like some kind of American mega church, the host of The Footy Show calls up a man named Peter from the audience. He awkwardly grabs the mic, wishes the host a happy birthday, and has his girlfriend joins him on stage. Still in awkward mode, he explains that he’s been with her for three years. You can see both Peter and his girlfriend, Catherine, wincing in agony.
After telling the host that he’s going to ask Catherine to marry him, for some reason, he gets down on one knee. At this point, you start to wonder if it’s staged. They’re both way too awkward, Catherine ran off like she had noodles for legs and Peter didn’t really seem to care.
Maybe it’s just an Australian thing.
9 Scottish Rugby Rejection
Nothing is worse than a woman saying yes in the heat of the moment, then getting cold feet. But that’s what happens when you propose on live TV and your girlfriend goes along in jest.
Michael from the UK was watching a rugby game with his girlfriend in the stands. His team ended up winning and he kissed his girlfriend in celebration. The thing is, they were both holding signs. His read “If I get on the TV, she will marry me,” an odd way of saying it, but hey, whatever. Her sign said “he’s not lying… I will say yes.” Sure enough, they get on TV, they kiss, and everyone assumes it worked out perfectly.
But it didn’t. Michael would later say that his girlfriend rejected him, apparently thinking that 1. they wouldn’t get on TV, and 2. thinking it was just a joke anyway. Let it be known that Michael from the UK does not joke about marriage proposals. At least his team won though.
8 Rugby Rejection Déjà Vu
Two Rugby related entries in a row, both involving a wedding proposal rejected on national television? Don’t worry though, this one is totally different, it involves drunk people, as is often the case.
After an unknown rugby team won an unknown game, two unknown young people say stuff no one understands because they’re stammering so much and so many fans are drunk. A local news station is interviewing them and while the dude is blabbering on about how happy he is, his girlfriend makes some kind of gang sign.
He then, apparently unplanned, says he’s going to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He then turns to her and his first “will you marry me” is obscured by another drunk guy jumping in front of them and yelling at the camera. As the new drunk guy runs to the bathroom to puke, the original drunk guy asks again, this time shouting even louder. But that’s okay, because his girlfriend is too busy doing her own shouting to notice.
Just to ram it home, he says that he loved her and grabs her face, as she desperately tries to get away. Ah, love truly is something special.
7 Hudson Valley Minor League
The crowds at minor league baseball games might not be as grand as they are in the big leagues, but 5,000 people or so is still a lot of people to watch you fail miserably. And unlike in the case of the Astros fan, this guy was given a microphone so the whole stadium could reel in morbid delight.
There the couple is, standing on top of the dugout, when he gets down on one knee. The woman is clearly shocked, walking backwards, almost falling off the edge. The woman takes a long time to say anything. She grabs the mic and starts crying, asking “is this real?” The audience laughs awkwardly and then goes silent. She starts laughing and crying at the same time, and talks about how much she loves him. Everyone but the boyfriend can see what’s coming.
“I love you so much,” she says, crying, “but I can’t marry you.” She runs off the dugout and leaves the guy sitting there, still on one knee. The crowd boos and everyone had infinitely more fun watching that than the game itself.
6 Soccer Fan Gives Terrible Speech
This one isn’t in English, but even then, it’s not hard to read how awkward this situation is. During halftime of a soccer game, a fan and his girlfriend were brought out to the middle of the pitch. From the moment they stepped on the field, the woman looked oddly frightened. An announcer said something and passed the microphone to the man.
Then the guy takes out a piece of paper and reads from it. Yes, he took out a script he wrote himself and started reading it. That’s not how it’s supposed to go, at all. You shouldn’t need a script to convey your feelings to the person you love, much less when you’re about to ask them to marry you. The crowd felt the same way because booing sounds the same in any language.
As the boos got louder, the guy started getting nervous, fumbling with the paper, stumbling on his words, and coughing. The look of terror grew on the woman’s face until he awkwardly stumbled on both knees, causing her to recoil in horror.
I’ll let you see for yourself how it ended.
5 This Guy Really Dropped the Ball
This one’s a really short video, but it goes to capture the level of awkward horror better than any on this list. It’s a simple set up to, which would normally work in the guy’s favor, but not this time.
During a TV timeout at a Spurs game, the team’s coyote mascot brings a woman down from the stands. After asking why the Spurs have a coyote for a mascot, she’s blindfolded and given a basketball to hold, being told that the mascot will grab the ball and dunk it.
That doesn’t happen of course, instead they bring out her boyfriend. She’s holding the ball above her head with outstretched arms, and when they take off the blindfold, she drops it, nearly hitting him in the face, and begins to walk off the court crying. That’s when one of the assistants has to escort her off the court, leaving the mascot to practically carry the boyfriend away.
4 She’s so Excited, She Slaps him in the Face
This is the only entry on the list where the woman says yes, but still runs away in a fit of anger/sorrow and embarrassment. Spoiler alert, by the way.
At yet another baseball game, a man asks his girlfriend to marry him. It’s pretty low key; they aren’t on the field and they aren’t on the jumbo-tron, just sitting in the stands. There is a camera though, but hey, whatever.
At first it was going well. She was crying, but smiling as well and looked pretty happy. But then she said something to the dude, and he said something back, and the smile immediately dropped from her face. He then said something else, which prompted her to slap him in the face and storm off.
The crowd went from cheers and laughter, to utter silence. You could see everyone in the crowd going still for a moment, but they erupted in more laughter and cheers. The guy doesn’t even bother chasing after her, he just sits in his seat and starts crying.
3 Mascot Dress Up Time
It’s weird how many of these entries involve the mascot. Not many people consider anthropomorphized animal mascots to be appropriate for wedding proposals, but whatever floats your boat. Or sinks it, in the case of one man who decided to dress as the mascot.
Much like other attempts, the woman was brought on to the court during halftime to play a silly game. This time, she was blindfolded (another weird theme) and was told to find the mascot somewhere on the court in 30 seconds to win tickets.
When she found the mascot, he skinned himself to reveal a human inside. But not just any human, her boyfriend with a wedding ring! Weirdly enough, she wasn’t too into it and ran off the court in tears before being stopped by security. She didn’t even get the tickets, which is perhaps the greatest shame of all.
2 UCLA’s Little Problem
This one’s likely a fake, but even still, I have to put it on this list for the sheer audacity of it. In fact, the proposal itself isn’t all that interesting either.
A dude at a UCLA basketball game proposes to his girlfriend on Mistletoe Cam around Christmas 2011. A reporter or someone came up to talk to them in the act, and the girlfriend just smiled and walked away. Got it? Good.
You might be asking yourself why she turned him down. It’s because of one big, or rather, small, problem. She would go on to say that she didn’t marry him, and broke up with him later, because his penis was too small. Ow.
Instead of getting some Viagra like any other dude or throwing himself off a cliff, the dude, Patrick Moote, made a documentary about it. In 2014, he released a documentary called Unhung Heroes, exploring the question: “Does size really matter?”
When it comes to that, yes, yes it does. It’s like a kicking a football: everything matters from size, shape, volume, the holder, and even wind condition oddly enough.
1 Soccer Coach Fakes Injury
Because of the questionable nature of the UCLA entry, this one takes the number one spot simply because of how gruesome and stupid it is.
An assistant coach for the Fresno Pacific University women’s soccer team decided to play in a scrimmage with his team. His girlfriend is a part of the team, which is already weird enough, so he decided to make his move there.
When he was soccering the ball, he did what any good soccer player would do and go down with a fake injury. He really hammed it up as well, yelling and screaming in bloody agony as if he had just been shot. He was holding his leg with one hand and his face with the other. That’s when the medical staff ran over to look him over. The team gathered around too, along with his girlfriend.
But instead of springing up when she came over, he went on for a good minute or so. She actually started crying beside him. That’s when he got up and popped out the ring. That’s when she got angry, slapped him in the face and ran… wait… she said yes?
No, really, she actually said yes to this guy. Imagine how big he must be if she’s willing to put up with that.
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