If this was the diamond Kelli Swaney got, we can’t wait to see the house.
The Maryville College senior walked to home plate following the Scots 10-7, come-from-behind win over Huntingdon at the Great South Athletic Conference tournament earlier this month, expecting to receive a plaque from Maryville coach Daniel Washburn for her work as the team’s unofficial photographer this season.
When Swaney reached the plate, Maryville second baseman Aaron Johnson walked up behind his longtime girlfriend, tapped her on the shoulder and dropped to one knee, then popped the question.
“My entire body was shaking,” Johnson said. “I was perfectly fine until I knelt down. When I knelt down, my whole body was shaking.”
The Maryville team ringing the pair and cheering them on couldn’t have helped. Swaney immediately said, “Yes!” marking a milestone in a genuinely remarkable courtship.
While they both graduated from Heritage, Swaney began her high school career at William Blount, where she was cheerleader. A tumbling run Swaney made during a Heritage/William Blount basketball game one season, long before the pair even knew each other, prompted him to turn to his friends and say, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry one day,” Johnson said.
At their first meeting, her future husband wasn’t quite so cavalier, Swaney said. Friends began trying to get them together almost from the time she arrived at Heritage, Swaney said. Johnson said he never took it seriously, at least initially, because Swaney was one of the most popular (read, beautiful) girls in the school.
“My mom had been trying to hook us up,” Swaney said, “but he was too shy. I said, ‘Well, I’ll make the first move.’”
When she tried to strike up a conversation, Johnson gave her the cold shoulder, she said. That’s when Dianne Swaney, Kelli’s mom, could watch from the sidelines no longer.
“I was in her mom’s class with Kelli,” Johnson said. “Her mom and some of the other teachers just kept trying to get us together. They came up to me 15 minutes later and said, ‘What are you doing?’”
While Swaney doesn’t get to keep the Maryville baseball diamond, the rock from Johnson from Bristol & Bragg Jewelers in Maryville looks like it’ll take care of things.
“I never had to think twice about it,” she said. “I thought he’d take me out to dinner, maybe a movie. I’m still floating on Cloud Nine.”
Him as well, Johnson said, now that his knees have settled down.