I ducked into a local coffee shop this morning and greeted the usual suspects who sat at their various tables, starting their Fridays off with a little caffeine and a lot of chat. "You're such a Bates girl," one said, tugging at the sleeve of my maroon hoodie, its Bobcat logo grinning from the back.
More now, I thought, than perhaps ever before.
With the publication of ONE GOAL, I have talked about Bates and Lewiston, Lewiston and Bates, to the TODAY Show and NPR, to the Boston Globe and the Lewiston Sun Journal, in bookstores after readings, and in Q & As with book bloggers. I was thrilled to see students at the Berkshire School reading ONE GOAL in an English class and discussing Lewiston with Bates alum Derek Murphy, assistant director of admissions.
I loved talking to Bates faculty who came to my reading at the Lewiston Public Library, and those who came to my talk at Bates, including my thesis advisor, Dr. John Cole. I was thrilled to be on the Bates Bobcast -- the podcast of Bates Athletics -- and delighted, really thrilled, by the story Emily McConville wrote for the Bates website. And, of course, I have loved seeing classmates and friends and PARENTS (parents! not kidding!) of classmates and friends at each and every stop of the book tour.
This past week, the Bates ONE GOAL bubble rose to new heights with a visit to Swarthmore. The trip, originally scheduled in March but crushed by a nor'easter, found a campus in blooming spring, with Lewiston High School soccer alum Eric Wagner, now head coach of Garnet Men's Soccer, my intrepid host. Eric, of course, is the son of beloved Bates psychology professor Dick Wagner, and, like his sister Lise, a character in ONE GOAL. It was a terrific two days speaking with faculty and students, the men's and women's soccer teams, and having a reading at the Campus & Community Store, which staged a fantastic display of soccer books. And who introduced me that evening? None other than Swarthmore President Valerie Smith, another -- oh yes -- proud Bates alum.
I am so grateful to Eric, who has become a treasured friend, and so grateful to the crazy, fabulous network that is Bates College and the city it sits in, Lewiston, Maine. "It's a Bates world," H. Jay Burns, the editor of Bates Magazine told me. "We're just living in it."
I'd say it's a Lewiston, world, too, if I've learned anything from my travels these last few months. For every Bates friend that shows up, there is someone from Lewiston, someone whose aunt lives in Lewiston, or -- quite often -- a Blue Devil, still bleeding blue, and still holding memories of Lewiston High School and, of course, Coach McGraw, deep in their heart.