A college basketball player got the surprise of her lifetime after her parents and her coach conspired to make her Senior Day on the basketball court even more memorable.
Meghan Boyle, a senior at Pennsylvania’s Albright College, was very purposefully the last senior on the women’s basketball team to be announced before Saturday’s game.
Following the tradition of individually honoring each senior member of the team before the final home game, Boyle got high-fives from her teammates and a hug and flowers from her coach before joining her parents, William and Diane Boyle, on the court.
Only the Doyles and their daughter’s coach, Janice Luck, knew that waiting just outside the gymnasium doors was Boyle’s brother, William Boyle, who has spent the past year deployed in Afghanistan as a specialist with the U.S. Army.
The only glimpse of what was to come occurred a few seconds before the reunion, when Boyle’s father took the flower bouquet from his daughter’s hands so that she would be able to hug her brother.
As the announcer introduced one more surprise to the spectators, Sgt. William Boyle appeared on the court, sending Meghan into a full-on sprint towards her brother, ending in a gigantic hug.
“It was very emotional,” Luck said. “No one knew. Everyone was standing and crying. Even the visiting team was crying.”
“They’re only 14 months apart so they’re very close siblings,” she said.
Luck says that she and Meghan’s parents, who live in Monson, Mass., planned the surprise together once they realized that Sgt. Doyle’s arrival back in the U.S. would coordinate with Senior Day.
Doyle, who has a 3.9 GPA at Albright, according to Luck, and could not be reached today because she was attending classes, knew that her brother was back in the states but had no idea when she would be able to see him.
Though the Albright Lions lost the basketball game that day, Luck says Meghan “played with fire” and moved up in the school’s rebounding record books, to the fourth highest rebounder in school history.
“There was some emotion at the start but she had a spirited play about her,” Luck said.
Sgt. Boyle returned home after the game to Massachusetts, where Meghan will visit him this weekend, and will return to duty in Kentucky next week, according to Luck.
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