My brief encounter with an Olympic Silver medal…

March 2, 2010

in random

and greatness…

I took the first flight out to Boston this morning. Right before we took off, the flight attendant announced that we had an Olympic Silver medalist in our midst: Molly Schaus, Goalie on the US Olympic Women’s Hockey team, was on the flight. We all clapped. The flight attendant walked down the aisle with the Silver Medal so that we could see the medal. I so wanted to touch it but of course I didn’t ask…

I was surprised to realize that Molly was sitting in the very back of the plane. For sure, for someone that just won us a Silver medal at the Winter Olympics you’d thought United Airlines would have given her a better seat. But the flight was full, and I’d like to assume that otherwise the crew would have tried hard to set her up with a better seat.

After I got off the plane, I waited by the gate, feeling a bit silly and awkward. I frantically tried to google her name on my Blackberry to make sure that I’d heard the flight attendant correctly. At the same time I was panicking since really, HOW was I going to recognize her?! Then business suits walked past me one after another. No. Not Molly. No. Not her. No way that’s her. Then I saw a young woman by herself, and you could tell by the way she carried herself that she is a professional athlete. Isn’t it amazing someone like me who never ever likes to exercise knows this about an athlete?

This may surprise you, but I am shy, in front of strangers, in public. I mustered up all the courage I had at that moment to step into the middle of the walkway and asked, “Are you Molly?”

She looked a bit surprised, but quickly smiled and said, “Yes.”

I extended my hand, and thankfully she took it.  I shook her hand and said, “Congratulations!!!”

She seemed happy and maybe a bit shy about my putting her on the spot. “Thanks!” she said. Then I watched her walk away.

Imagine that. An Olympic Silver Medalist. And I shook her hand!

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Sorry about the quality of the picture. I didn’t see anybody else taking out their phones to take a picture of this awesome moment, and frankly, was a bit disappointed at my planemates for not making a big deal out of this. This IS a big deal. Or is it just me? Anyway, I am still very excited about this chance encounter. Silly? Maybe. But you bet I will forever seek out the news of Molly Schaus and cheer for her.

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Olympic Silver Medal - US Women's Hockey

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{ 39 comments }

Ry Sal - aka @bwdstudio March 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I’m having a vision of what I would do in this situation… climbing over people and seats to touch the medal… only to have the other passengers attack and tie me down with belts and shoe laces.. while the pilot returns to the gate and I am escorted to the next flight to Siberia. I admire your tact and composure…
.-= Ry Sal – aka @bwdstudio´s last blog…Nana Inspired #2 – I jumped off the boat… =-.

Maureen@IslandRoar March 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

That is so cool! I’m so glad you waited to shake her hand; I’ll bet it made her day!!
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog…Let It Snow… =-.

secret agent woman March 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

First, I’m glad for you you got to meet her.

But, I’m always a little baffled by the whole celebrity thing. Why should the airline or passengers make a big deal of her? Would you have wanted to get bumped out of your seat so she could have one closer to the front? People are just people, none deserving of better (or worse) treatment than any other. I mean, good for her for being an accomplished athlete, and that’s why she won a medal. But I don’t think that requires an accommodation on everyone else’s part. Possibly not everyone on the plane was a sports fan? But you are, so you took a moment to congratulate her. That seems to have gone exactly as it ought to have.
.-= secret agent woman´s last blog…"I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine." =-.

mrsblogalot March 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I think it’s a really big deal!! how awesome for both of you that you did also! How many real moments (for each of us) do we really get?
.-= mrsblogalot´s last blog…The Satisfied Blogger =-.

TheKitchenWitch March 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I think that’s cool! It definitely beats my plane-sighting: Alice Cooper. I did say “Hey, Mr. Cooper,” though, which humiliated my husband :)
.-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog…Born-Again Virgin! Umm, Sorta. =-.

Kristen @ Motherese March 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

In general I agree with Secret Agent Woman about our culture’s obsession with celebrity, but in this case, I am glad that you went out of your way to shake this woman’s hand. I can’t imagine that she is often recognized in public, especially as a female athlete in a sport in which she wears a mask. Her behavior didn’t demand any special treatment, but you made her feel special – which she is, having just represented her country in a medal winning multi-game performance at the Olympics. And who doesn’t deserve to feel special?

Jennifer Lynn March 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Without a doubt….you are a cool Kid! I would have been right there with you:)
.-= Jennifer Lynn´s last blog…One limp at a time. =-.

Andrea March 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I feel one degree closer to an olympic medal myself (not that I’ve ever played sports ever ever ever), just reading that you shook her hand! Very cool indeed.
.-= Andrea´s last blog…"Alive With The Glory Of Love" =-.

Manic Motherhood March 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

How freaking cool! And I really like it that you approached her. It probably made her feel just as special.

Elly Lou March 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

WTF! I mean, I was already disappointed in you when I found out you didn’t lick Molly. But now I learn that you could have licked the medal itself with just a little maneuvering and chair leaping? I’m so…I can’t believe you….there are no words. You need to take a little time out and think about what you’ve done, Missy. Have I taught you nothing?!?!
.-= Elly Lou´s last blog…An Ode to Dr. Seuss (and Vodka) =-.

naptimewriting March 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Proof that flight attendants can make anything look like a seat belt demonstration. 😉
.-= naptimewriting´s last blog…Bolano 2666 quote of the week (6) =-.

lagunatic March 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Elly took my line about licking.
Figures.
I’m still excited for you, though.
Except, I mourn the fact that your tongue didn’t get medaled. But, just a bit.

Nuage March 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I’m sure if it were Ryan Miller on the plane, he would receive a lot more congratulations and handshakes (perhaps a better seat too). Female hockey players simply don’t get the same star treatment and respect, yet they work just as hard (if not harder), as their male counterparts. That girl just brought home a silver medal from the Games!!! I bet your acknowledgement and recognition of her hard work went straight to her heart. And I think it’s really cute that, though you don’t care for the sport or know who she was, you waited just to offer your congratulations.

So… uh… does that mean you’re gonna start watching women’s hockey? You They’reeIt an exciting sport!!
.-= Nuage´s last blog… =-.

Merrilymarylee March 3, 2010 at 6:30 am

Good for you… taking the time to stand and wait for her. A gold medal instinct, Girl!

I’ll watch for news of Molly now, too. I’ve always thought that being a Goalie and hurling oneself on the ice to stop a puck, getting whacked with sticks, wearing that awful uniform, had to be the worst position in sports. OUCH! You’re right–she definitely deserved a First Class bump!
.-= Merrilymarylee´s last blog…It’s Peachy, but. . . ! =-.

Wicked Shawn March 3, 2010 at 7:33 am

Good for you for taking the pic and shaking the hand, although, licking would have been wicked hilarious shenanigans! I’ve met a lot of politicians and musicians and stuff, but when I met the one I really wanted to meet, the one and only me, went completely friggin stupid, as in, unable to speak. Yep, I didn’t say a word. Forgot to hand SS agents my camera, forgot to give them my book for signatures, everything! So, I am proud of you. Way to go airport stalker! Forge ahead!!
.-= Wicked Shawn´s last blog…Chasing and Torturing the Elusive V…….. =-.

Robin March 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

ooooh…how cool!
.-= Robin´s last blog…The Diva Title =-.

Jane March 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Recognizing her accomplishment and congratulating her is a beautiful thing and I’m so glad you made her day. She’s not an entertainer (although her sport entertains) and she’s not the typical look-at-me-celebrity. I think Olympic athletes are amazing!
.-= Jane´s last blog…People! It’s JUST snow! =-.

Absence Alternatives March 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Ry, Elly would have been proud of you. I am sorry that I failed to represent. *hangs head*

SAW, I agree with you re. our culture’s obsession with celebrities. I’d like to think that I didn’t do this because she is a celebrity per se. Actually, if she were actually famous, I’d prolly have stayed away. I haven’t met anybody famous yet, so don’t hold me to this! Well, I was once on the same flt with Jaleel Whit (Urkel), but I pretended that I didn’t recognize him, walking right past him. I am a bitch that way: when ppl expect to be recognized and be gushed upon, I refuse to give them that satisfaction. I just wanted to thank her for representing the country and for doing a great job. I wasn’t expecting UA to bump anybody for her. I was wondering whether they had a better empty seat on the flt, and if they did, they could have easily given it to her.

Kristen, that’s exactly how I felt! I hesitated in publishing this post ’cause I didn’t want her, should she ever come across this post, to think that I only wanted to shake hands with her so I could brag about it. This was an after thought. I didn’t even mention her name on Twitter for exact this reason..

TKW: You didn’t want to break Mr. Cooper’s heart by not recognizing him. You are a very kind person. 😉

Elly, I am sorry for letting you down! Now we are all going to lick you when we see you in person. I hope you come in different flavors.

Naptime: LOL! The blue ribbon looks like seat belt too, you are right!

lagunatic: My tongue will never win anything. Trust me. I have a lazy tongue…

Nuage, you are right on! On all of them. Indeed, I don’t watch any sports as many of you know. Could care less really. If it were Ryan what’shisname I am pretty sure I would not have stayed by the gate to fight for his attention. To me, Olympics is different. It gives these athletes in non-glamorous sports, so to speak, a chance to represent their countries and to shine. I know I would have stayed to thank her even if the team hadn’t won anything. And no, you know I’m not going to start watching woman’s hockey: no time & no cable. google alert: Molly Schaus, Boston College Eagles.

Maureen, Mrs. B, Jennifer, Andrea, Manic Motherhood (great name btw!), Robin, Wicked Shawn, Jane, Marylee, Thank you for basking in the coolness of this with me. :-)

And Marylee, yup. Curling is definitely much safer. LOL. 😉

Velva March 3, 2010 at 7:52 pm

It is a big deal!!! The whole damn plane should have applauded. I would have gladly given her my seat if it were a better one. That was an exciting game against the Canadian hockey team too.
How cool that you got to shake her hand.
.-= Velva´s last blog…Grilled Red Curry Chicken =-.

Unknown Mami March 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I’m very proud of you for mustering up the courage. I’m quite shy in person too and I know how hard it would have been.
.-= Unknown Mami´s last blog…I Comment Therefore I Am =-.

Nuage March 4, 2010 at 12:18 am

Ryan “Whatshisname”… You made me laugh out loud and startle Kai awake while I was nursing him.
.-= Nuage´s last blog… =-.

Absence Alternatives March 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I am so sorry! All moms with young babies hate this when it happens! Sometimes a whole day can be ruined just because the baby doesn’t catch that one nap. You need better practice in stifling your laugh. Ha!

Diane March 4, 2010 at 6:43 am

I think that’s great. Good for you for congratulating her. She probably gets less of that than you would imagine. (And the photo does look like a seat belt demonstration!)

Amber March 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

I bet you made her day. That is awesome. I think that you are also a celebrity because meeting a celebrity gives you that status, right?
.-= Amber´s last blog…The Rapids =-.

Absence Alternatives March 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Velva, Mami, Diane, and Amber thank you for thinking it is cool. And the more I look at it, the more the FA did make the medal look like a seatbelt. LOL. I guess anyone can be a celebrity by Osmosis. 😉

Kate March 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Oh how great to get to meet her and I am sure she really appreciated knowing people are rooting for her. I worry I would have turned shy and wimped out.

Kate xx

Absence Alternatives March 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I surprised myself too and actually was feeling the shock for a long time afterwards. I am such a dork. :-)

Shelli March 6, 2010 at 5:08 am

I honestly don’t know how I would have reacted. Probably much the same as you, although I most likely wouldn’t have been able to muster the courage to wait to shake her hand. Like you, I’m incredibly shy in person, until I feel comfortable with someone. Also, like you, I don’t care one flippin’ bit about sports (with the exception of gymnastics). It would have been neat to see the medal though, especially since they seem to have changed their design (when did they start looking like squished pieces of unformed metal?). Now, if I ever get the chance to meet a couple of my favorite celebs, I might go dumb and mute. I met George Thorogood (sp?) when I was a young teenager, and he was an incredible ass towards me and my friend (we bumped into him, almost literally, in front of the bar that made him famous in Delaware).
.-= Shelli´s last blog…Epiphanie Give-Away! =-.

Falling March 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Kudos to both of you for your grace in this situation.
.-= Falling´s last blog…This, That, and HOLY CRAP =-.

Linda from Bar Mitzvahzilla March 7, 2010 at 12:59 am

I’m so proud of our Olympic athletes. I also love that my kids adore watching the Olympics and that my daughter considers the female athletes to be great role models for what women can accomplish. Since the Olympics ended, as a matter of fact, as an alternative to skating (we’re in Arizona) she’s taken to rollerblading and she’s very good!
.-= Linda from Bar Mitzvahzilla´s last blog…Weight of the World =-.

Absence Alternatives March 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm

That’s awesome! Similarly, Mr. Monk has asked me whether he could take skating lessons. :-)

pixielation March 7, 2010 at 3:45 am

I think it’s lovely that you found her and shook her hand. I bet she was touched by your congratulations. She’s not a celebrity like the vapid reality TV show elect, she’s a celebrity because she worked hard and competed, did her best, and did her country proud.
.-= pixielation´s last blog…The one about trains, plays and awkward-o-chiles =-.

Absence Alternatives March 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

The part of why she deserved “special treatment” I couldn’t have said it better! Thanks!

Jen @ NathanRising March 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm

That’s so cool! It’s a memory you’ll have forever. I probably would have chickened out!
-Jen
.-= Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog…Miniature Scholar =-.

BigLittleWolf March 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

This is pretty fabulous! I would’ve snapped a pic and shaken a hand as well. Huge accomplishment winning a medal in the Olympics! (And I cannot imagine that an athlete wouldn’t appreciate the (respectful) appreciation.)
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog…Stress Busting Parenting Tips: Grand Central, Empty Fridge, Locked Door, More Coffee =-.

Absence Alternatives March 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

If anything, I feel bad for how Winter Olympics does not seem to command the same “pull” as the Summer Olympics, and to me that’s quite unfair. You are right: an Olympic medal is a huge deal. Esp. If you are an athelete from a country with few medals. Perhaps in the US we have become a bid jaded?

Fuck Yeah, Motherhood! March 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

A real silver medal? I’m dying. I was obsessed with the Olympics and watched an insane amount of television during those 2 1/2 weeks, I’m hardly ashamed to say.

The only thing I’ve ever won is a pretty sweet ribbon for being my elementary school spelling bee champ. And a bunch of radio contests because I’ve got crazytalented fingers, duh.

Absence Alternatives March 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

I am almost afraid to ask: So do you consider ice dancing a sport? Should it be included in the Olympics?! I watched A LOT OF Ice Dancing, with my boys.

Also, do you watch Curling too?! 😉

Absence Alternatives March 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

By the way, can you call Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on NPR for me?! One of my dying wish is to have Carl Kasell’s voice on my answering machine!

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