Sports Person of the Week
Pane on Her Way to the Hall of Fame
Gabriele Pane has solidified her place in the East Haven Alumni Association Hall of Fame for her exceptional career as a three-sport Yellowjackets’ athlete. (Photo courtesy of Steve Narracci )
Gabriele Pane earned numerous athletic accolades while playing three sports during her time at East Haven High School. For her efforts on the tennis court, the basketball court, and the soccer field, Gabriele was selected as a Class of 2020 inductee for the East Haven Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
“I feel honored to be memorialized,” says Gabriele. “It’s a really good feeling.”
Gabriele received All-League honors in all four of her seasons with the Yellowjackets’ girls soccer team, serving as a captain during both her junior and senior years. In 2007, Gabriele broke East Haven’s school records for the most career points, career goals, and career assists, in addition to the most assists in a season.
Gabriele was also a four-year member of the Easties’ girls’ basketball team, leading the squad as a captain during her senior campaign.
Gabriele started playing tennis for East Haven as a sophomore. Gabriele had played softball in her freshman year, but when then-head coach Vincent DeNuzzo encouraged her to try tennis, she decided to give it a shot. Gabriele spent the next three seasons competing for the Yellowjackets’ girls’ tennis team and, despite having no prior training, she went on to garner All-League accolades all three years. Gabriele also served as captain during her junior and senior years, ultimately breaking the school record for the most career doubles victories alongside partner Cathy Celotto.
She says when she and her best friend Celotto played basketball for DeNuzzo, he said he was coaching tennis, and he needed players.
“He said that he knew we never played tennis, but we were athletic, so we could try it. [Cathy and I] ended up being doubles partners, and we lost our first four matches in a row,” Gabriele says. “We got the hang of it and went undefeated after that.”
Gabriele’s love of sports started at a young age. Gabriele’s father Lou Pane, the longtime head coach of the East Haven hockey team, always had an interest in sports and enrolled her in soccer at the age of four. Gabriele grew up playing sports with her brother Louis, who is two years younger than her. With a supportive family by her side, Gabriele found that being an athlete came naturally to her.
“My dad was always into sports. I used to play sports with my brother. I even played hockey when I was really young,” says Gabriele. “I always really liked playing sports.”
In 2008, Gabriele graduated from East Haven and began attending Quinnipiac University to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. However, after two years, Gabriele decided to transfer to Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and change her major to psychology. During her time in high school, Gabriele earned both a Harvard Book Award and Outstanding Student Award from Yale University.
After working for a few years in the psychology field, Gabriele decided to pursue her true passion: art. Gabriele always felt that she had an artistic side. Some of her college professors even told her to change her major to art and go after it seriously.
When she was 20, Gabriele took part in an artist’s collectives featuring musicians, video makers, and visual artists. Gabriele was contacted by art curators in New York and, suddenly, her career was taking off. Gabriele has since gone on to carve out a professional career in the art world. Her work has been featured at the New York Stock Exchange, the Forbes 30 for 30 Summit, New York Fashion Week, and the Athletes for Art Function, amongst numerous other locales.
When Gabriele signs one of her paintings, she signs it as Not Your Muse. The phrase is not only the name of Gabriele’s art company, but also her professional mantra that reminds her to always be her own source of inspiration each day.
“I believe that every person should be their own inspiration. Work to be a better you every day and not necessarily look to someone else for inspiration,” Gabriele says. “The muses inspired all of the creative music and poetry and art in Roman and Greek mythology. Not Your Muse is a way of taking that and harnessing it for yourself. It’s the best way to inspire other people just to be your true self.”
As Gabriele continues through her career as an artist, she hasn’t forgotten about her time in athletics. Gabriele feels that playing sports for East Haven and leading her teams as a captain helps her on the business side of the art world. It also allowed her to make lifetime friends and learn lifelong lessons.
“Not only was it fun and gave you things such as confidence, I made so many good friendships from sports. I’m still friends with them today. We have so many memories,” says Gabriele. “Even just showing up to practice every day and having that sense of commitment to something you love was really important. It’s the same thing with my art. It took me years to get to this point.”