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If Ducks Come Through, 'I Do'

Mission Viejo couple has a bet: If the Stanley Cup comes to Anaheim, they wed.

May 25, 2003|Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writer

Some people have a dollar or two riding on a Mighty Ducks championship. Steve De Sena and Christina Servoss have bet a marriage.

They aren't married yet. If the Ducks win the Stanley Cup, they will be.

"I have been trying to get him to marry me for a very long time," said Servoss, 30, a marketing account coordinator. "He has very cold feet."

The Mission Viejo couple -- who have known each other seven years, dated for five and now live together in a two-story "dream house with a cute little backyard" -- have always made little bets: who had to do the dishes, who would get a back massage and a few unmentionables.

So when Servoss suggested before Anaheim had even made the playoffs that the team might win the Stanley Cup, De Sena scoffed. Though he loves the Ducks just as much as Servoss, De Sena thought she was crazy.

"I blurted out, 'I'll marry you if they win the Stanley Cup,' " he recalled. "She said, 'OK. You're on!' "

De Sena, a 32-year-old facilities manager, has been waking up in a cold sweat ever since. Well, not really, but after all these years of what he calls "biding time," the soul-searching is taking its toll. Last week, he and Servoss went shopping for rings, but he freaked out when it came time to put a sparkling diamond on layaway and instead went for dinner at Red Robin to talk it over.

Everywhere he turns, it seems there are reminders of that dreaded "m" word. Neighbors are taping newspaper headlines to their door: "Mighty Amazing. Ducks Advance to Stanley Cup Finals." And the other day, Servoss witnessed a guy in line at Ralphs -- standing right in front of her -- propose to the woman checking groceries.

"I never really realized, up until this point, how many people are getting married," De Sena said. He says he's not opposed to getting married -- it's just a question of when.

Their little bet has met mixed reactions. Some have cautioned Servoss that she shouldn't secure a proposal simply because he lost the bet. Others find it romantic and funny.

"The poor sap doesn't stand a chance right now," said David Bennett, a Mighty Ducks fan who learned about the bet last week while the couple was standing in line to see the Stanley Cup while wearing matching jerseys they bought each other for Valentine's Day. "He'd better renegotiate while he still has a chance."

That's not likely. Servoss isn't backing down and one of her chief allies is De Sena's sister Debbee Houk, who introduced the two.

"He's lucky to have someone like her," Houk said. "He's 32. It's time to do right, marry her and get busy with a family. And I know he loves her."

Houk expects her brother to marry Servoss regardless of the Ducks' fate. And Servoss, though she's getting antsy, isn't going anywhere.

"I would never give him an ultimatum," she said. "I decided two years ago that I would be with him no matter what."

They already consider themselves a family with two miniature dachshunds.

Servoss calls De Sena the "complete package" -- a man with a big heart who makes her feel invincible and can make her laugh "any moment of the day." De Sena said he has found someone patient and understanding who goes the extra mile when it's not expected. "She does it all," he said. "And that's awesome."

For a couple with so much on the line, the two are full of wisecracks. De Sena is threatening to wear a Ducks jersey under his tuxedo at their wedding. Servoss says De Sena's recent knee surgery is keeping him from running away.

Caesar's Palace oddsmaker Chuck Esposito said that when Servoss accepted the bet, "she was definitely a longshot to walk down the aisle."

And as the Stanley Cup finals draw closer, the Ducks are still 8-5 underdogs to the New Jersey Devils. But that's not helping De Sena's nerves any.

"Oh, boy. It's getting closer," De Sena said. "This is turning into reality."

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