A TV reporter had a question prepared for Mark Burnette and each of his family members Monday morning near a volleyball net on the sand at Huntington Beach Pier.
She started with the youngest, and cutest, Burnette, Carinne, a 7-year-old who came with her family to California from Tennessee because her Dad won a contest put on by AT&T. They were there to play a friendly beach volleyball match against a famous duo.
"Is this a dream come true for you," the TV reporter asked Carinne, who smiled.
"Yes, it is," Carinne said. "I'm going to have to find a new one."
This dream that came true carried some significance.
Misty and Kerri won their third straight gold medal at the London Olympics. Misty, the former Newport Harbor High star, announced she would retire from competitive beach volleyball. Kerri wants to continue to play, but not for a while as she is pregnant with her third child.
But here they were, together again, back on the beach.
In a way, it was a dream come true for them too.
"It's nice to be back on the sand with Kerri," Misty said before providing beach volleyball tips to the Burnette family. "We get to interact with our fans. We hope to knock something off their bucket list."
The faces of Carinne and her older sister, Madison, 11, lit up when they saw Misty and Kerri. Their excitement was genuine and they were thrilled to wear the gold medals of the Olympians.
While they were in California, they visited
Carinne and Madison, along with their father and mother, Heather, went through a warm-up session with Misty and Kerri that included stretching and a jog to the lifeguard stand and back. It was an exclusive treatment, playing in a quiet private setting with the greatest beach volleyball duo of all time.
Mark said he was excited, mainly for his daughters, yet he was just as giddy when he posed with Misty and Kerri and with gold medals. He said he wanted his daughters to learn from women and to gain inspiration.
Misty said she wanted to provide that experience. She said it didn't matter if the girls wanted to become volleyball players. She just wanted to motivate them that they can accomplish great things with great effort.
Misty could speak from experience. She worked hard on the sand at Huntington Beach to train to become the best. Coaching will be in her future and that could be seen in her interaction with the Burnette family, as she gave encouragement to the girls throughout the morning.
Misty and Kerri agreed that the third gold medal was the sweetest for them. It was a culmination of their journey and it ended just the way they wanted, they said.
They were pleased to share that experience with fans. Even on Monday, they just wanted the Burnette family to be happy.
"I love it," Misty said of making the girls' faces light up. "This makes it all worth it. This is one of the perks for why we play the sport. We can put a smile on their face. And to inspire young kids is worth it, the work that we put in."