Strange But True: LOVE finds a way

This is the cast of characters in the story: Lyle Bennett, a sophomore at Brigham Young University who worked in the college athletic office; Mary Shurtz, Lyle Bennett’s girlfriend and a freshman at BYU; and Steve Siegel, whose hobby was hang-gliding.

Bennett was an inventive young man and wanted to propose to Mary in a novel way. He knew that Mary would be at the Brigham Young-Utah football game one Saturday in 1975, so he chose that day to ask her to marry him. The BYU cheering section used flashcards that formed huge designs and figures with the organizers of the cheering section to have a special card trick done. During the half-time show the cards suddenly spelled out a message for only one person in the crowd: “Mary Shurtz, Will you marry me? Love, Lyle.”

Meanwhile, Steve Siegel had a trick of his own in mind. He climbed up “Y” Mountain, near the Brigham Young stadium. During half time he strapped himself into his hang-gliding rig, took a running start down the mountain and soon was flying. He soared over the stadium, glided around for a while, then made a perfect landing on the field as the crowd cheered.

Lyle Bennett thought it was a fine glide. But he was unhappy he didn’t know of Siegel’s plans earlier. “If I had known he was going to do this,” Bennett said later, “I’d have had him bring the ring.”

Even without the ring, Mary Shurtz agreed to Bennett’s flashcard proposal, and they were engaged to be married.

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. This was the last story in the book.  BUT, it looks like Liss wrote a second book called More Strange But True Sports Stories, so I ordered it and it should arrive in about a week or so.  I’d never read that book before so it’ll be just as new to me as it will to all of you.

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