Matt Farrell of Bridgewater, New Jersey, is a junior point guard for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, while his older brother, Bo, is currently a first Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and has been deployed in Afghanistan since May.
At least, that's what everyone thought.
Here's how this touching mega-Christmas surprise played out. The whole plan had been in the works for seven months. After Notre Dame's Monday night 77-62 win over Colgate, where Matt finished with 13 points and seven assists, there was a video greeting from Bo played on the arena scoreboard above the court. Like we said, everyone thoughtÂ the soldier was still overseas.
It turns out that the video everyone in the stadium was watching wasn't recorded in Afghanistanâit was actually being aired live from a back room adjacent to the court floor! Bo stood in front of an American flag to make it look like one of those "message from the troops" holiday videos that you often see at this time of the year, and it was quite authentic.
So, imagine Matt's surprise when his brother, who wasn't due home until February, walked out onto the court just a few days before Christmas! As you would expect, the brothers hugged and the crowds cheered.
Watch the emotional reunion in the video below:
As you can see from the video, Notre Dame's basketball victory definitely wasn't the mostÂ exciting part of the night!Â It was Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey and his staff who helped put together the plan to surprise Matt by bringing Bo onto the court after the game.
"He got me," Matt said to the Chicago Tribune. "We don't ask for much for Christmas, so this is the best present I've ever gotten."
"He is very upset with me," Brey joked in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.Â "What a neat family celebration."
We couldn't agree more, coach!