It started as a normal Sunday for Ben Ajani. A Falcons cheerleader was down on the field cheering for the players before their season ended, when she was pulled to the side and asked to go upstairs to show off.
Usually, it meant greeting fans, or participating in some kind of conversation. But on this day, Ajani did not see the season ticket holders as he left the stadium. Instead, he saw the love of his life, who was down on one knee, with a promise ring in his hand.
“I thought it was a normal thing, ‘Okay, we should go on tour, or something like that,'” Ajani said. “And that’s not it. My boyfriend came to the stage, and I said, ‘What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.’ They just worked together.”
Ajani, a lifelong Atlantan who has also worked in Dream Entertainment and the Hawks, says he couldn’t imagine a better place for his involvement. In fact, she is the second Falcon cheerleader who has been engaged before a home game this season. One of his teammates was asked a question before the start of the season.
“All cheerleaders want to be involved in the game. It is a big part of your life, “Ajani said. “Many of us have celebrated or danced all our lives, and there are many things you miss – birthdays, trips and so on – because in the season you are very committed. This is the biggest part of your life, and to be able to do something as big as getting engaged, everyone is very happy for you. “
Ajani says many members of the Falcons organization helped her boyfriend, Dominic Williams, plan the special day. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been a longtime friend to the LGBTQ community, publicly opposing Georgia’s anti-LGBTQ law in 2016 and hiring Katie Sowers as an intern.
In Ajani’s two years with the team, he says he was always free to be himself. It doesn’t take much more than what your partner asks of you before the end of the year’s home game.
“I’ve never had such a dream,” he said. “To think how far we have come as a society that we can do it at a football game in front of tens of thousands of people.”
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