Big Girl in the Middle

Big Girl in the Middle

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  • ISBN-13: 9780517280614
  • ISBN: 0517280612
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing


Reece, Gabrielle


The Friday Morning Grind Gabrielle Reece likes to roar. When she's frustrated, she opens her large, much-photographed mouth and heaves forth a sound beloved of five-year-old boys playing monster. Errggghhhhhh! Today, at Southern California's Manhattan Beach, dressed in her uniform -- black running tights, black sports top, black visor emblazoned with a white NIKE swoosh -- she leans forward at the waist, carotid arteries snaking up either side of her long, strong neck, clenches her fists, opens her mouth wide and roars. Again and again, she roars. Sometimes the roar is followed by a half-swallowed curse. Farge! Profanity earns you a red card from the ref; a red card gives a point and the volleyball to the other team. Even though we live in a time when a certain amount of female brutishness is considered to be spirited, and thus sexy, there are still limits, big ones. One thing women of the '90s have in common with every woman from Mary Magdalene up through Hillary Clinton is the feeling that there are boundaries beyond which you must not go, or else be written off as unacceptable. To flourish personally, professionally and, in the case of someone like Gabby, in the public eye, you must still refrain from being too opinionated or too emotional or too successful. A recent cartoon in The New Yorker shows two men at a cocktail party; one says to the other, "She's your type. Good-looking, some money, not too much ambition." There is something you must understand about Gabby's roar. There is nothing remotely attractive about it. It's genuine, unfiltered human expression. Gabby's roar is -- like just about everything else about Gabby -- is a shade past the pale. It's a too big sound from a too big girl who turned bigness and buffness and brute strength to her advantage. Gabby's roar comes out when she's frustrated, and she's frustrated a lot these days. It's the middle of the summer, the middle of her 4th season playing middle blocker on the Bud Light Professional Beach Volleyball Tour; the middle of a losing streak. Team NIKE, her team, cannot seem to put together anything resembling a winning streak. Unlike every other women's team on the tour, Team Norelco, Team Paul Mitchell, Team Discus, and Team Sony AutoSound, Team NIKE has never made it to the Finals. Not once. But these are big picture facts that Gabby tries not to think about at 11:30 a.m. on this Friday morning in the middle of July, Round Three of the three day tournament, Team NIKE versus Team Norelco, Shoes Versus Nubs. The most hazardous seconds during a volleyball game are the 45 seconds or so before service when your mind can sabotage your game. When you might, if you were Gabby, start thinking that you need a win more than any other team, if only to prove that you're not doomed to spend the entire rest of the season losing. When you might start thinking how this year, more than any other, you've put it all out there. You've got the stats, you've got the awards, but this year, you wanted to both dominate the center and captain a first place team. First place, nothing else. And there you are in fifth. Fifth place out of five teams. A bad dream that shows no signs of ending. But you can't think that, you mustn't, and all players know this, Gabby especially. She knows it's what's happening on the sand, this instant. And at this instant one of Gabby's teammates, also her roommate, a quiet girl named Jennifer Meredith rushes a shot and thwacks the ball straight into the middle of the net. Jen looks frustrated. Gabby roars. TReece, Gabrielle is the author of 'Big Girl in the Middle', published 1998 under ISBN 9780517280614 and ISBN 0517280612.

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