“I was pretty much like ‘What just happened?’ There is no way you can go back from it.”
Once you hear for yourself what it is, you’d probably agree. But then again, I wouldn’t be writing about it if there wasn’t a twist worth staying for.
Taking Center Field
We can only imagine the amount of fretting, rehearsing and second-guessing 18-year-old Patrick Smith went through prior.
How many times did he ask himself ‘Am I really doing this?!‘ Oh, and cameras were rolling for every second of it. Smith would soon wish they weren’t.
Wearing a hoodie and joggers, the Park Ridge High School senior walks to the middle of the school’s field. He’s holding a microphone, his unsure voice blaring from the stadium speakers. Though there are 2,000 people watching, Smith is speaking to only one soul, and she’s walking his way.
When he finishes speaking, the crowd erupts in raucous cheers. Yet just moments later, the cheers turn to gasps.
The Epic Promposal Fail
It sure took Patrick Smith every ounce of courage for this moment, because what he said was, “Is there any way you would come to prom with me?”
That’s when, in front of 2,000 onlookers, classmate Jen Malespina replied, “I already have a date, sorry!” silencing the crowd and making Smith sullen.
“I spent a bit of time planning the proposal, I really thought she was going to be the one,” he said, adding that the public rejection hit hard.
“At the time I felt pure embarrassment. You can’t even put it into words. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I was just rejected in front of 2,000 people.’”
To add insult to injury, the fail was filmed by his friend and posted online. It quickly spread, spawning plenty of sympathy.
“If that happened to me, I would slither away out of existence…,” posted one.
“That would be so embarrassing 😭 I feel horrible for him,” added another.
Speaking with Inside Edition, Malespina says that although they’d known each other for years, she didn’t see it coming. “I was shocked,” she said, “I was not expecting it at all.”
How a Student Proves That a Setback Is Just a Setup for Success
You could forgive Smith if instead of prom, he found the coziest rock to hide under. Instead, like a champ, this resilient romeo got up from the grass and back on the field.
He visits his classmate Lilli Abraham, whom he asks out to prom, and she accepts. He adds that this time, he did his homework.
“I talked to her friends beforehand to make sure she wasn’t going with anyone,” he said, adding, “She was very aware of my first rejection – she found it hilarious.”
Malespina says that they both can look back at the moment and laugh. “I’m very excited for prom, it’s on Friday and now that this is in the past me and Patrick are able to joke about it,” she says.
As a sometimes shy guy who missed some chances, I give Smith nothing but respect for taking his shot. While rejection stings, so does regret. I promise you that he’d never forgive himself if he passed up this promposal.
The real success of this story isn’t Smith finding a date, it’s knowing that you can play under the bright lights, fall down and get up to play again.
Now there’s a playbook for life.
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