The BYU vs Boise State football game on Sept. 12 gave BYU more than just a win. It brought a deployed soldier home to her family.
Between the first and second quarters of the high-energy game, a family was taken out onto the football field in front of a crowd of 63,470 people. The stadium, at 99 percent capacity, was louder than ever. But the rowdy crowd hushed when they saw the replay screen light up. Something exciting was about to happen.
In the middle of the football field, the BYU Sports Marketing team surprised the family with a video on the big screen of their daughter deployed overseas. Their soldier expressed her love for her family and her favorite team — the BYU Cougars.
The crowd cheered for the family and the excitement they had of seeing their daughter again in just two short weeks.
What the family didn’t know was in the southeast corner of the stadium, their daughter, who was thought to be half-way across the globe, was gearing up to give her family the best surprise ever.
As soon as the video clip ended, the soldier ran across the field as fast as she could. The crowded gasped and shouted in anticipation for the family to see what was behind them. Finally, the family turned around, their daughter reached them and they embraced in a long-awaited hug.
BYU Athletics arranged for the soldier to come home two weeks earlier than her expected homecoming date.
It was a tearful reunion for the family and for those in attendance.
The solider’s homecoming exemplified the values and family friendly atmosphere unique to LaVell Edwards Stadium — something uncommon at college football stadiums.
Part of the mission of BYU Athletics is to “live faith-based values of morality, charity and honor.” This event perfectly exemplified the mission statement of BYU Athletics.
The BYU Athletics department showed football fans that what they do is larger than itself.
BYU and its athletics program not only brought energy to LaVell Edwards Stadium that September night. The program brought emotion, tears and joy to a no longer separated family and a sympathetic crowd.
All photos are courtesy of BYU Photo.
McKenzie Draper is a homegrown Colorado girl and a self-proclaimed dog whisperer. She is a Brigham Young University public relations student graduating in April 2017.