A year later we moved to China, a year after that we had our first kid. And it was then, I got a taste of celebrity life. People were always staring, taking pictures, and touching my blond blue-eyed baby boy. It got really old, really quick. So, I guess, in the back of my head- if I ever saw a celebrity in real life, I'd want to just let them be. Except I didn't!
I was beyond thrilled when I had heard that Gabby Reece, the professional volleyball player, would be speaking at #Blogher17. During the keynote session, I was just tickled to be in the same room as THE Gabrielle Reece, my childhood hero.
Seeing her reminded me of my big dreams of being a professional volleyball player.
With the exception of volleyball, I don't care much for sports. I don't root for teams or players, I don't watch it on tv, or go to games. In the nineties, Micheal Jordan was everywhere. My brother's room was covered in Chicago Bulls paraphernalia. Full disclosure, I don't think his 8 year old self actually watched basketball once. But it seemed that every little boy looked up to Michael Jordan for more than his athletic ability. Michael Jordan represented persistence, hard work, and success. Where was the girl version of that?
In 4th grade, I started playing volleyball and FELL IN LOVE. Volleyball was life! How can I do this forever? Can volleyball be a job? I wondered. And then, I discovered this female athlete named Gabrielle Reece. She was beautiful and strong and SO good at volleyball. She was breaking records, pushing boundaries, and being amazing. I wanted to be just like her! In volleyball practice, while running laps, thoughts of Gabby kept me going. Gabby wouldn't complain about these laps. Gabby would keep going. So I did.
source: Gabby Reece/Instagram
|Me, dreaming big in '95|
Fast forward 20 or so years later, long after I changed my career path from professional volleyball player to teacher to stay at home mom. I'm walking through the Hilton lobby in Orlando and there is FRIGGIN' GABBY REECE!!! No big deal, just casually having lunch with a crew of famous female athletes after her keynote panel discussion. About ten feet away, I stopped with my jaw dropped, looking at Gabby, questioning if this was real life. Pro surfer Jessi Miley-Dyer (also NBD, right!?) motioned for me to come over and talk to Gabby, "Come on, you should do it," she whispered across the table. Like the biggest fangirling nerd, I told Gabby I loved her before I even introduced myself. I felt like I shrunk into my ten year old self (and because she's so tall, it seemed like I was a little kid) She put out her hand, with a flattered smile she said, “Hi, I'm Gabby.” I briefly explained how I looked up to her when I was little, thanked her, and apologized for interrupting her lunch. And we hugged and took a picture!
|Clearly I'm excited. Thanks for making time for me, Gabby!!!|
It had been years since I thought about volleyball and Gabby. After meeting her, I kind of wanted to see what she had been up to. Go figure, on social media she is still being awesome: being a wife and mom, writing books, creating a new fitness program, hosting a podcast, all while advocating a healthy lifestyle. It's kind of EXACTLY what I need at the moment.
In the #winningwomen keynote session Gabby said, "Be the person you can feel good about. Be loving, be strong, badass women."
Once again, like the 10 year old me, I find myself asking what would Gabby do? She would keep going! I guess she'll always be my number 1 role model. Thank you Gabby. I still love you. 💛