There was a big winner at Wrigley Field this year. Life long Cub fan, Josh Clarke, 23, wasn't playing a game, though. After two years of dating, he surprised his girlfriend, Carissa Megali, 20, by proposing to her at Wrigley Field Sept. 17. Kerry Wood was pitching against the Mets.
"I thought it'd be neat and different," Josh said. "Something special for us to remember."
Josh made Carissa a Cub fan. Indifferent at first, after watching the team on TV so often with Josh, she came to like them nearly as much as he does. He usually attends four or five games at Wrigley every year. She goes with him a couple times a season.
This one was special but Carissa wasn't aware. Keeping the proposal a secret was not an easy task for Josh.
"I had to keep the ring hidden from her the whole trip," Josh explained. "We got there and watched batting practice. Then I used the excuse that I had to go to the bathroom but went up and talked to some ushers and cameramen from ESPN, WGN and Fox.
"I told them what I was going to do and we planned it for the middle of the 4th inning before the Cubs batted. I asked an usher if he'd take our picture while I proposed. He told some of the spectators and it spread throughout the whole area where we were sitting."
Josh and Carissa were sitting in the left center field bleachers. The usher told him to go to the edge of the wall closer to the field for a better picture. All Josh told Carissa was he wanted to get a snapshot of them at the game.
"When the time came," Josh said , "I was a nervous wreck. We moved down to the edge of the wall. I yelled out, can I have everyone's attention please? And everyone got quiet. Carissa looked at me like I was nuts.
"I explained to the crowd that we'd been dating two years. I introduced us and told them where we were from. Then I got down on one knee, as best as I could, got out the ring and proposed."
Carissa had no idea what was going on.
"I didn't have much time to think about it," Carissa said. "I didn't know what he was doing and didn't understand why he was yelling at the crowd just to have a picture taken.
"I was totally surprised when he proposed," Carissa said. "I was so excited. I said yes. I don't think he heard me, though, because of the noise. Later he asked me if I'd said yes."
"I just had to make sure," Josh said. "At that time I was going through a shock stage."
Josh's mom, Elaine Clarke, taped the Cub game. But, unfortunately, the station she taped didn't air the segment. The cameramen had told Josh they'd tape him and Carissa but couldn't guarantee if or when it would be shown. They said it wouldn't be on live but might be played during a lull in the game.
They called the TV stations and asked to buy a video of that segment. All three said they couldn't do it as it would set a precedence they couldn't handle.
They did get the still shots the usher took but they didn't turn out too well.
Undaunted, Josh and Carissa will forever carry the moment in their memories and in their hearts.
When asked if a wedding date had been set, Josh said, "No. we're doing this slowly."
Josh attends ISU and Ivy Tech and works part time at American Rental, Eddies Sandwich Shop and as a reserve deputy sheriff. Carissa is a junior at ISU and works at TGI Fridays and Eddies Sandwich Shop. They hope to finish school and get settled financially before they marry. So for now they're going to be like the Cubs and wait 'til next year.