We just returned from an extended weekend trip to Denver to watch Sophie play in the Colorado Crossroads Junior National Qualifier tournament.
Sophie was born in Denver. We lived there for three years while my husband attended school and I taught school. We lived in an old yellow brick house on Franklin Street, a few blocks from St. Joseph's Hospital. I used to walk up the street to my prenatal appointments and get solicited for drugs on a regular basis...and by solicited, I mean people were trying to sell them to me, not the other way around.
Franchement. Did I really need to clarify that?
Sophie was born the night my husband graduated. We were actually hosting a little get together and timing my contractions (best party trick ever) until I was all: not to wreck the fun or anything, but I'm pretty sure these things hurt enough to go see a professional.
How much do I love Denver? From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I loved it. I loved the air, the sky, the buildings, the houses, the restaurants, the weather, the people, the backroads and alleys, my job, the kids I taught, the farmers' markets, the roasted green chilis, the hometown spirit, the trees, the parks, the zoo, the snow, the storms, the seasons, my neighbors, even the one who called me a stupid white girl (in his defense he was hammered at the time, otherwise I'm almost positive he would have left out at least one of those modifiers).
I loved it all.
Pretty crazy. Because this town feels like home to me. It's in my heart. You know how some places make you happy and others you have to make yourself happy in them?
Oh, and watching Sophie's team compete was riveting. Who knew my little brown eyed girl would return to her hometown these many years later, somewhat taller now, bringing with her the storm and the fury?
Here is a brief montage of highlights from the tournament. Bear in mind these are Sophie's highlights. Trust me, those other girls can destroy the ball, too. I secretly call #7 The Assassin...she's a very sweet girl off court but hits the ball like a cold blooded killer. #2 has the face of an angel, but she's left handed and strikes that ball out of nowhere like a cobra. The entire team is a ferocious pack of darling girls.
p.s. I forgot to mention one of the highlights of the trip, which is that I got a patdown and my hands tested for explosive chemicals at the airport! And I didn't dare ask why they were doing it, in case they didn't give the answer I was hoping for, which was: because you look exactly like the type of person who might be tampering with explosive chemicals.
Instead I just kept my mouth shut and tried not to show how much I was enjoying it.