Jillian Bontempo was supposed to be surprised, but she was actually doing the surprising.
I’m not a helpless romantic, but I sparingly make attempts to surprise my wife, Jessica, every now and then. Because our families live only two hours away from each other, we usually celebrate holidays apart. This past Christmas Eve, I thought I surprised her, when she opened her parent’s door at 10 p.m., only to find out that my sister, Taquila, called and told her I’d be there a few hours prior to my arrival.
My sister has proven that she can’t hold water; she even told me once about my surprise party. And, I thought of her last week, when Matanzas lacrosse player Bailee Hurd invited me to Jillian Bontemps’s surprise college signing.
According to Bailee, Jill doesn’t like that kind of attention, so she would’ve never held a signing for herself. But, Bailee, being her best friend—and reason she decided to commit to St. Leo with her—wanted to do something special for Jill. Bailee actually filled out the college application for Jill.
So, She alerted the Lady Pirates and Jill’s family members of her plans, so they could help surprise Jill and congratulate her on her signing, but Bailee, too excited not to tell her best friend, who just so happens to be the “surprisee,” let the cat of the bag a few days too early.
“I couldn’t keep it in,” Bailee laughed. “She was getting suspicious, so I had to tell her.”
With everyone in position, in front of the Pirates’ trophy case in the gym, Bailee slowly leads Jill into the room, and the supporters yell “Congratulations!” Jill simply waved with a big smile on her face—because she wasn’t surprised at all.
“I tried to look surprised, but it just didn’t come out,” Jill sheepishly laughed. “I was too happy. But overall, everyone’s so great for showing so much support.”
Upon knowing the surprise, I told Bailee that I wanted to “surprise” all of the supporters and inform them that they didn’t really surprise Jill, so I needed her to actually keep this a secret. Bailee replied, “OK. I will not ruin another surprise.”
“I figured, as her teammate for the past few years and the next four years, I wanted to celebrate how far she’s come in the game,” Bailee said, “especially since she started lacrosse her sophomore year and has gotten so amazing.”
Although Bailee, and my sister, suck at keeping surprises secret, they seem to make up for it by being good and true friends. That was a life moment Jill will never forget.