I walked my customary South Park route yesterday in the beautiful fall weather. Heading back north along 12th, I noticed the Quincy Notre Dame cross country team coming the other way.
Up the street came a familiar figure, still a whispy willow of a thing, still slightly hunched forward with her face glazed in concentration.
She played on my daughter's Quinsippi Soccer League Tiramisu team that David Adam and I coached. She was whispy back then, could run like the wind, and we put her at back or in the midfield, or if we needed a goal at forward.
Alexis had the hardest shot of any girl in the league. When she wound up the other players would scatter. They knew. She'd usually injure a hapless teammate or two in practice. You never knew quite where it was going to go, but it was always a bullet.
Those are good memories, car bumper pool in the Paul Dennis parking lot, Sunday afternoons in the late summer sun or huddled in the fall cold.
So here she came, and I could hear us yelling, "CLEAR IT ALEX! OUTSIDE! TO THE OUTSIDE!"
She passed and recognized me and I gave her an "Atta girl Alex" and she grinned that beautiful shy smile.
And she was gone, steadily and surely down 12th Street.
It's funny how seeing a face brings back memories.
I miss the days of little girls and soccer, of Silver Shoes and showdowns with the really good Knapheide team and, of course, the only thing that really mattered. After the game, the chorus was unanimous .... "Who brought treats?"
Thank you, Alexis, for bringing it back, and good luck in your running.