After a quarter-century relationship that's produced eight children, including Shoni and Jude Schimmel, Rick Schimmel and Ceci Moses made it official on April 2 (the day after April Fool's Day, we note), only a few hours before the Louisville Cardinals knocked off Tennessee to advance to the Final Four.
Sometime during the grueling, 1,600-mile marathon drive from their home in Oregon to Oklahoma City for the Louisville-Baylor Sweet Sixteen game on Easter Sunday, March 31, Rick and Ceci agreed to their pact. Road trips always have some side effects.
But Rick was grasping at how the pair would fill the time between games if their daughters, the outstanding pair of sisters pushing Louisville toward a national title, did shock the world and lead a victory over the seemingly invincible Baylor Lady Bears that many are calling one of the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament. The next game would be played on Tuesday, April 2. Ceci, perhaps a little less car-groggy, suggested they’d likely be headed back to Oregon after the game. The sisters were playing the top-ranked team in the nation, after all.
“It’s Easter Sunday,” Rick recalls saying in the car, according to the Courier-Journal. “It’s a day of miracles. We’re going to win. Her comment was, ‘if they win, I’ll marry you.’ I said OK.”
Louisville 82, Baylor 81. They’re heading to the chapel.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rick and Ceci took out a marriage license, braved the rain, and raced to a courthouse wedding chapel in Oklahoma City. After trading “I do’s,” they were officially hitched. Unfortunately, the Schimmel sisters couldn’t attend the ceremony, as their obligations—prepping for the big game versus the Lady Volunteers—kept them away. But “it was exciting to see it on the iPad,” Shoni told the Courier-Journal's Tim Sullivan. The reception was going to be huge, with bands, nachos, a massive crowd and, oh, that hugely important basketball game
“You’d like to do it the right way,” Rick said. “But financially, [a wedding] has always been difficult. And one year turns into 25.”
“To me,” Ceci said, “we paid $50 for a piece of paper that tells us what we already had. In the Indian way, we were already married.”
In any case, there's a lot of material here for a sequel to the outstanding documentary about the Schimmels, Off the Rez, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2011.
Courier-Journal reporter Tim Sullivan caught up with Rick and Ceci by phone on Thursday during another monster road-trip for the newlyweds, this one to New Orleans to watch their daughters play in the Final Four—the honeymoon. “Still married.”
“I’m thrilled,” said Rick. “All it took was defeating the defending champions to make it happen.”
The Final Four. The Big Easy. Louisville-Cal. The Schimmel Show. The Umatilla Thrilla. Game on!
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