While most athletes go for the gold, Polly Harrington left her last basketball game at the DakotaDome with a diamond.
The only senior on the USD Women's Basketball Team, Harrington was under the impression her team was going to honor her with a video. While Harrington was looking back at her past highlights on the court, the man she had been courting showed the young woman her future. In front of thousands of fans, including both of their families, boyfriend Cory Clayton asked Harrington to marry him.
"It kind of scared me and I was like, what are you doing here," Harrington said, standing on the court days after the game.
"I was just like, how did everyone know except me? Like, all of my teammates knew. The coaches knew. Even people who don't even play basketball knew. How did everyone know but me," Harrington said.
Head Coach Amy Williams had a hand in getting the ring on Harrington's finger. She has been plotting with Clayton, who has dated Harrington for four years, since last summer.
"Well, I'm not a great secret-keeper, so, but when it's something big like this, it's important for him to have that be a surprise, and I wanted it to be special for Polly, as well. So, it was a little bit easier to keep under wraps," Williams said.
Harrington felt no pressure to say yes, despite the public audience. She graduates from USD in December, and Clayton gets his degree from Brown Mackie College in November. The two have yet to pick a wedding date. As she was looking down at her blindingly sparkling engagement ring, she said her new fiance picked just what she wanted.
"Sometimes I feel like it's not real. Like I'm looking at it, 'Is this real?,'" Harrington said.
SDSU beat USD that night. Even so, it is a game to remember, and not because of the 16 points Harrington scored. The court in the DakotaDome has been the place for Harrington's numerous rebounds and countless double-digit scoring games, and this question and answer is just one more highlight she can look back on.
"It just tops it all off. Just a great experience at USD, being a women's basketball player. My last home game here and the man of my dreams asked me to marry him, so it was just.. I don't know, it was wonderful," Harrington said.