I never understood the expression “to be speechless” until I met my childhood hero, Maria Sharapova.
In a mystical world known as Prague, in the most magical of all locations called the St. Charles Bridge, I saw my childhood idol. She was right there, walking towards me as if I were in a dream. I enjoy believing that I can hide my emotions well, though we both know that in this instant no one would have been able to do so — to say that I was unmasked would be the understatement of the millennium. She winked at me, put her index finger on her lips and was soon lost into the crowd.
Believe me, I often have too much to say, and therefore, do not know how to keep my mouth shut. I would call myself an extrovert, and here I could say that I wasn’t. I felt surprised; plus, I’m blind so I really had to squint in order to double check it was her. Could I really be the one to spot a celebrity? Is this happening to me out of all people?
The next day, I ventured to the O2 Arena in order to witness the stark contrast between the different parts of Prague; there was an evident glamour tourist area, which we had been seeing on a daily basis, a residential area that was still being developed, and an unmistakable urban void.
After this long but pleasant trek, I see the arena towering in front of me, and the thousands of excited people already gathering to witness the FedEx Cup Tennis Championships. Russia was playing the Czech Republic therefore, the locals where in turmoil. I soak up as much of the atmosphere as possible by trying to see every single stand available, before I realize that I still had to find a vendor in order to buy a ticket.
Well, the gentleman or woman I am looking for, is no official retailer; rather, he or she had bought a ticket years ago when the prices were still low, and they are outside the stadium on this day trying to make a profit from it.
Sadly, it must have been too late because everyone had almost disappeared within the arena. I decide that there is no better place to watch a game than on TV, so I decide to head back to the hotel.
I circle around the arena wanting to see all of it, at least before I leave. I turn the last corner and am paralyzed by what I see: a Russian motorcade. In between black town cars ornate with Russian flags, a small sized white SUV is slowly making its way towards my direction. I just manage to look up and realize that I’m next to the VIP Parking Garage before being petrified by the image before me. She was right there in the passenger seat of the car. Sharapova looks in my direction, seems to think for a second, and then waves my way.
A bubbling of emotions was upon me before I even had time to react; my breaths became more frequent, my childhood memories came rushing back and I started smiling. However, I remained glue to the spot.
Had I learned how to cope with my feelings because I had lost the naïve hope that I would ever meet her? I had to do something though, I had seen Sharapova twice in a span of 24 hours.
Needless to say, I was giddier than a schoolboy on a date with his first crush. Ultimately, and I regret this decision still today, I thought a simple wave would suffice; therefore, please don’t criticize too harshly the boldest move that I’ve ever made in my life. I waved back as her car turned left, and entered the parking garage.