Story by Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor
You’ve probably heard of players being “married to the game”, but on Tuesday night after football practice, senior defensive lineman Bishop Woods took that mantra to a new level.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Woods and his fiancée, Caitlin Myers, were wed on the midfield line of the football stadium in front of a crowd of teammates, friends and coaches. For most people, the thought of holding an impromptu wedding on the 50-yard line of Roy Stewart Stadium would be enough to scare them away from marriage altogether, but Myers said their relationship has always been about spontaneity.
“How our relationship is, it’s very spontaneous and on edge and impulsive,” she said. “So how we did it, it was really special to us.”
Woods made the decision to hold the wedding after he ran into offensive line coach Brian Hamilton before football practice Tuesday. Woods told Hamilton he was desperate to get married, and as fate would have it, Hamilton had the solution.
“[Hamilton] said he’s married people before, so I was like, ‘Would you really do this for me and Kaitlin this afternoon after practice?’,” Woods said.
Hamilton, an ordained minister, suggested the two wait until the next day, but when Woods called his fianceè to propose delaying the wedding, Myers said she wanted to get married that day.
“[Myers] said, ‘I want to do it today, before you change your mind’,” Woods said.
Thus, they collectively agreed to hold their wedding after practice that day, with Hamilton as the officiant. Woods said when he told his teammates he was holding a wedding after practice, they didn’t buy it.
“At first [my teammates] thought I was joking,” Woods said. “And then I told them, “I’m getting married after practice.’ They thought I meant propose. I’m like ‘No, I’m getting married after practice.’”
At the conclusion of practice, teammates and friends huddled around the two as Hamilton read lighthearted vows to both Myers and Woods.
“Do you promise to love and protect him – even when he chooses to wear sleeveless shirts and mesh shorts to parties and events?” Hamilton asked Myers. “Do you promise to love him in sickness – even if that sickness is caused by losses by his team, any team he is coaching, the teams of his children or the teams that he wagers on. Do you promise to have a solid answer for what you want to eat at least 50 percent of the time?”
After vows were exchanged and tears were shed, Woods kissed his girlfriend and sealed the deal – in pads and all.
Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Woods! pic.twitter.com/bQCMT7fwgM
— MurrayStateFootball (@racersfootball) September 13, 2017
Woods’ story has since gained traction on a national scale. ESPN, ABC News and USA Today all featured the couple’s spontaneous and unconventional ceremony on their websites. Woods said he initially posted the video on his own Twitter hoping it would inspire athletes, but the response was overwhelmingly universal.
“I woke up this morning with a bunch of notifications, it was getting spread everywhere,” Woods said. “It’s just crazy how fast it’s happened and now everybody knows that we’re married, and how we did it was special and unique in its own way.”
While some may question Woods and Myers’ decision to hold an impromptu wedding on a football field, Hamilton believes true love isn’t measured by lavish weddings and expensive outfits.
“I think a lot of times, those kind of things can be overproduced,” Hamilton said. “That’s not what love is. Love is the hard work, love is the day-to-day, love is the little things. And I think if you keep that in mind, you’re more likely to be successful in it.”
Woods’ mother, who lives in Atlanta, wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, but Woods said she couldn’t stop crying at the news. Yet despite not having close relatives in attendance, Woods said he wouldn’t have had the ceremony any other way.
“I truly felt like if I was at church it wouldn’t have went any differently,” Woods said. “This is the real deal.”
The two met at Murray State during Woods’ freshman year. He first approached her outside of Winslow Dining Hall, and the rest was history.
“I was outside of Winslow, I tried to be cool,” Woods said. “I said, ‘Aye girl,’ as she was walking and she almost tore her ACL – she stopped so hard.”
The two now have one four-month-old son, Benjamin. Hamilton has watched Woods progress throughout his years at Murray State, and praised his relentless efforts to provide for his family of three.
“You hear so much bad about college athletes,” Hamilton said. “And here you’ve got a guy who’s showing up to practice and passing all his classes and working at Pizza Hut at night to put food on the table for his family. I’m proud to be a part of someone who lives there life like that. There’s a great story here before all this happened, in my mind.”
The wedding will be memorialized long after the two move on from Murray State – just check the shoe tree for a pair of football cleats.