Justin Blondell '13 is standing by his story. The future Mrs. Blondell—aka St. Ambrose senior women's basketball player Lauren Cash—remains unconvinced.
On their first official date two years ago, Blondell, then a starting guard for the Fighting Bees men's hoops squad, invited Cash to select a movie from his collection of DVDs. When she declined, his story goes, it was only through a very random process of eenie-meenie-miney-mo that he settled on a flick.
Yes. It was Love and Basketball.
"I swear it was random," he said. "She thinks I had to have had it planned."
Love and basketball will be a winning combination in 2014 as Justin and Lauren plan for their Aug. 30 wedding. Meanwhile, Lauren's sister Megan Cash '11, a former Queen Bees guard herself, will be readying for her May 31 marriage to Brett McGinnis '12, her high school sweetheart and Blondell's former SAU teammate.
Both couples became engaged on Aug. 4 in a fairy-tale fashion that even Blondell won't deny was scripted. The young men took the sisters by surprise, crashing a Cash family vacation in Orlando, Fla. Their proposals were made a mere 90 minutes apart and in virtually the same spot.
"Disney World," Lauren said. "Both right in front of the castle."
Father Bill Cash's plea for a double wedding has been denied. But the couples will marry in the same Pekin, Ill., church and will host their receptions at the same hall.
Initially, Megan wasn't sure about Blondell dating her sister, but she warmed to the idea as the younger couple's relationship grew.
That growth was fostered by the common bond of basketball at St. Ambrose, where Lauren, who transferred to SAU as a sophomore, said the men's and women's programs are particularly supportive of one another.
Megan and McGinnis first "dated" in fifth grade and then reconnected as high school seniors. She hadn't planned to play basketball in college, but followed her heart and McGinnis to SAU and was a three-year Queen Bees starter.
Love and basketball. Some things are meant to Bee.