. . . and they lived happily ever after.
All right, fine. I have been putting off blogging about this amazing experience for five days now (I take a bit of time processing things, okay?) and I guess now is as good a time as any. Hang on, lemme stare a bit more at the photo I posted first.
So, okay–let’s backtrack a bit. Remember that other #romanceclass experience I had, the one where our special guests were theatre actors who did a table read of some of our books? Yeah, you remember. If you’d read through my rambling, you’d know Mina told me a thing about the next discussion which pretty much guaranteed my attendance.
That thing was the presence of a special guest, Gabe Norwood.
So, confession time: I’ve had a teensy-weensy crush on Gabe Norwood since I saw him play for the national team Gilas Pilipinas in 2013. (FIBA Asia was held here in Manila, and my dad and sister and I watched the games religiously on TV.) It was the dimples that did me in, honestly. Eee, they made him look adorbs, especially when he does that awkward smile because he committed a foul or a turnover or whatever hardcourt mistake and he’s like “My bad.” How can you get mad at that face? I said out loud many times.
Anyway, I tried my best to follow his career after that but I kind of sucked at it because I never get home early enough to watch PBA games. So the next time I really saw him play was during FIBA Worlds in Spain. Y’know, that time when he posterized Argentina’s Scola and Mata. And then there was this year’s Jones Cup and FIBA Asia in Changsha–which ended dismally, I know–and I’m just like “Yeap. Gabe Norwood’s da bomb diggity!”
(No, I didn’t actually say that.)
I guess you could already imagine how I felt on Saturday when he arrived (so casually!) at Dome Cafe and just sat down among us tiny people, all six feet and five inches of him, ready to roll with the punches–er, questions, which were personal most of the time.
And you know what? He was SO COOL about it! Well, clearly he had been briefed about what was going to happen during the discussion, what questions might get asked and all, but it was kind of unbelievable for an athlete of his status to be sitting around and baring himself to us like that. An athlete. Playing for the national team. You would expect a little ego here and there, but there was none of that. And it was an amazing experience.
^ Yeap. I was thatclose to my Gilas crush. I was so thankful I was seated to Jay, whom I had to eventually hug so I could channel my kilig somewhere else.
^ The face you make when you’re trying hard not to grin stupidly because Gabe Norwood. >_<;
^ Aaaand this almost didn’t happen. Thanks to Jay, it did! <3 (Gabe: “Do you want me to stand up?” Me: “Please don’t.”) I also got to shake his hand and wish him luck for their next game (which they lost–oops?) which was like EEEEEEEEEEEE for me.
More #romanceclass sports discussion snippets:
- Before our special guest arrived, we were doing a round robin of book recommendations and had a lot of laughs over some of the book covers because abs. (See title: The Friend Zone, with an abstacular photo on the cover.) Personally, as someone who hasn’t read a lot of sports romance–Because wow, that’s actually a sub-genre? I didn’t know until now!–it was interesting to note how there are varied choices. There are after all, a lot of different sports. I just hope we as Filipino authors could explore more of that too.
- I didn’t get to ask Gabe a question, but that was okay. Mina, Anne, Liana, and everyone else had interesting questions to ask. About how he met his wife Lei, what their first date was like (Ninja Assassin!!!). About groupies, bashers, and comments that matter to him. About how to manage a relationship while being busy with a career. About PBA wives (LOL). About the difference in treatment between athletes who are easy on the eyes and those who . . . aren’t. About family and how vital it is to him. If Lei had been around, I’m pretty sure we would’ve had a longer discussion, but maybe that’s something to do for another day. <3 All I can say is that she seems like an amazing woman, and I would love to meet her. And their adorable kids!
- Non-verbatim mini convo, part 1:
Kat: “Kasama ba siya (Gabe) sa mga naglaro sa China?”
Bianca: “Gusto ko sanang tanungin kung anong na-feel niya (about the game) kaya lang baka ma-badtrip. Wag na lang.”
To be honest though, I wanted to ask a lot of questions about the sport but that might’ve gotten too technical and not romance-y. Heehee. -_-;;
- Gabe stayed a bit longer to just hang out and it was The. Best Thing. Ever. It was so nice to hear him talk about random things like “sponsors,” and how he feels about male and female athletes not getting the same treatment/attention. I know I would love to hear his thoughts about more things, but I had to rush to Makati so I could hear mass with my family, so . . . boo-hoo.
- Last funny thing: While Mina was giving a brief background on the February discussion (where we needed a hot French pastry chef), someone asked Gabe if he wanted to come back for that and said “You have two months to learn how to become a pastry chef!” CRIES.
General observation: Being with the #romanceclass community is a great way to spend a day, guest or not. <3 I am so looking forward to more fun times and brilliant opportunities with these talented ladies, and to be honest, Christmas came super early for me this year because of them.
Until February! ^_^