Superfan Dobitz honored by Blue Hawks volleyball team
Dickinson State volleyball welcomed the newest member of its coaching staff Sunday night.Gail Dobitz, a member of ABLE, Inc. -- a company that works with disabled adults in everyday life -- and a diehard fan of all things Blue Hawks, was already ...
Dickinson State volleyball welcomed the newest member of its coaching staff Sunday night.
Gail Dobitz, a member of ABLE, Inc. - a company that works with disabled adults in everyday life - and a diehard fan of all things Blue Hawks, was already at every game, so head coach Jenn Hartman and her team had a thought.
Why not make it official?
With a ceremonial press conference at Scott Gymnasium, a signature from Dobitz, who has Down syndrome, made her role on the team just that: a done deal.
Her new title? Just call her coach.
“It is with great excitement that we would like to invite you to become a part of our Dickinson State University Volleyball coaching staff,” read the official contract. “By signing this contract you will not only be joining the Dickinson State Volleyball team, but you will also be joining the Blue Hawk Family.”
The entire team was in attendance for the official signing, as were 14 members of Dobitz’s family, including two current DSU student-athletes.
There were a few tears, mostly from Dobitz, whose emotions got the best of her right after she signed the contract, lots of smiles, hugs, pictures and - after the signing was made official - plenty of cake and ice cream.
The cake read: “Welcome to the Blue Hawks Gail.”
“She’s at every Blue Hawk event. She just loves the Blue Hawks, and we figured, if she goes to all the games, we might as well find a way for her to actually be a part of the games,” Hartman said. “We would hope this meant the world to her. Obviously when she started tearing up, that was a very special moment. We just really wanted to make a difference, or be a small part of it.”
The idea originally started with sophomore libero Alli Hert, who works with Dobitz at ABLE, Inc. as a direct support professional. As a freshmen, Hert, who Dobitz called her “best friend,” noticed Dobitz at virtually every Blue Hawk athletic event. From there, the idea of the gesture hatched.
“I’ve only been here for a year, but I saw her around so much through all the sports. She was at all the games. Everyone knows who she is, she’s a big part of the community,” Hert said. “She has been for a long time, so it was only right for us to involve her this way. She just loves this place and we love her, so it’s nice to have her around.”
Originally, the plan was to sign her on as a player, but Dobitz had something else in mind.
“The girls needed me,” she said.
Any new ideas for how to make the team better?
“Yes,” she said, confidently. “I would have a few.”