It’s not something you see every day: A baseball player striding to the Rocket logo in the center of the Glass Bowl and hitting it out of the stadium. But that’s exactly what Josh Johnson did.
With the help of Rocky and Rocksy, the former UT outfielder surprised his girlfriend, Cara Wasserman, by popping the question Oct. 20 and sliding a diamond on her finger.At 8:30 a.m. on game day, the couple met their friends, Eric and Neena Mossing, in lot 10.
“We played it off as a contest, that Neena and Eric won passes to tour the Glass Bowl, and they asked Cara to go as she’s a huge Toledo football fan,” Johnson said.
After the Rocket Marching Band finished rehearsing, Rocky and Rocksy met the four fans in the center of the stadium, posed for photos, and began handing out prizes. Eric received a UT beer stein and said, “I can use this today!” Neena, a 2011 UT alumna, got a Rocket coffee mug. And then the mascots unfolded a blanket with a photo of Johnson and Wasserman in their Rocket gear with the words: “Cara Lynn, will you marry me?”
Johnson dropped down on one knee and opened a ring box.
“What the — oh my god! Yes, I will! What the heck, Josh?” Wasserman said. “Oh my god, that is so awesome!”
As the couple embraced and kissed near the 50-yard line, Wasserman’s parents came on the field. After a round of hugs, Rick Wasserman, who played tight end for the Rockets and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1979, said, “It’s time to start the tailgate.”“We popped champagne,” Wasserman said, adding she had no clue what was going to happen. “Even when we walked on the field, I still thought we won a contest. It didn’t literally dawn on me until he got down on one knee.”
And when she saw the blanket?
“It took me a minute because I saw the mascots take it out of the bag. I saw it was a blanket, but it was turned around, so I saw the backside of it. And I thought: That’s cool, it’s a Toledo blanket,” she said. “And then Rocky and Rocksy were holding it, and I’m like, Oh my gosh, that’s our picture on the blanket!”
Keeping the plan under cover was easy for Johnson — until Saturday morning.
“She kept pushing the snooze button, and I kept looking at the clock,” he said. “I basically pushed her out of bed so she’d get up. And then on the drive there, it started to hit me quite a bit. Most times, I’m not really driving that fast, but I felt like I was going 85 miles per hour to get there.
“It really kicked in when we got there at 8:22, and Eric and Neena weren’t there yet at the tailgate. So I started freaking out: Oh my gosh, they’re going to be late, and everything’s going to be thrown off. I started getting really nervous. And then on the walk in, I’m surprised Cara didn’t notice because I felt like I was having seizures I was shaking so bad.”Johnson started planning to ask the big question in the spring.
“With her dad being a former football player, she grew up a huge Rocket fan. And being a former UT athlete myself, with the last home game on a Saturday, that was the perfect time,” he said.
“We’ve been going to Toledo games since I was super-little; we love Toledo football,” Wasserman said. “We always tailgate. That’s another reason I didn’t think anything of it because our friends were down there setting up their tailgate, and they usually get there pretty early. So when he said 8:30 we need to be down there, I was like, OK, make sure my parents know what time we’re tailgating.”
Johnson played baseball for the Rockets from 2007 to 2010 and graduated with an individualized degree from University College in 2014. He is the recreation program specialist at the Village of Archbold’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Wasserman received a bachelor of education degree in 2011 and is an intervention specialist in special education and math teacher at Fassett Junior High School in Oregon. She is pursuing a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction at the University.
They are looking for a home in between Archbold and Oregon, and discussing wedding plans for next year.
“We both knew we wanted to be together and get married, but it was always like the future — I did not think it would be now. I am super-thrilled that it is now, but I had no idea,” Wasserman said. “I am super-excited! I just keep thinking about Saturday.”