I remember the first time I saw her.
I can still feel the excitement in my heart. The way it fluttered like a hummingbird’s wings inside my chest.
I was 30 years old but had never seen anyone like her.Her name was Joanie Laurer, but she wrestled under the name “Chyna.” Tall and muscular, she was billed as the 9th Wonder of the World.
Chyna wasn’t the first woman to wrestle, but she was the first I had seen square off against the guys.
In a small way, she reminded me of my tomboy past — me in my blue jeans and baseball cap playing ball with the guys.
But she busted open gender boundaries on a grand scale with the world watching.
It was validation, but it was something else, too.
Even at 30, I needed to be reminded that I could be anyone and do anything.
* * *
Laurer passed away today at the age of 46. A few months ago, I read that she was attending a convention in nearby New Jersey. I thought about going and getting an autograph and telling her that she is one of my heroes. I guess she already knows.