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All aboard the Odicci Express / June 09, 2021
The internet is a horrible place, but honesty compels me to report it can be pretty darn entertaining at times, too.

You know about Wikipedia, the open source, online encyclopedia that draws upon the voluntary expertise of contributors from all around the planet. Wikipedia is moderated and curated, and the information that you’ll find there is usually, though not always, accurate and reliable.

Still, there’s an unlimited amount of data constantly being fed into Wikipedia that someone has to vet for quality control purposes, right? With everybody being able to weigh in at any time and all. In that vein, someone probably wasn’t monitoring the status of a certain Plains state this week when the following entry was, um, modified:

South Boston News
HA HA HA HA HA. Alas, governing sovereignty was eventually restored to the Sooner State once the Oklahoma women’s softball team finally found a way to overcome Odicci Alexander on the playing field Monday. All that the Pride of Palmer Springs had done up till that point was to personally deny the State of Oklahoma the college softball glory its denizens believed was inevitable. Instead, the world was introduced to the irresistible force — irresistible appeal, really — of James Madison University’s star pitcher.

What a week for Odicci, her family, her friends, and all of Mecklenburg County. Who could have predicted it? It sure has been exciting — much as people from time to time will get swept up in sports that they didn’t much follow or even care about before (looking at you, Olympics) until a great story, and a great persona, comes along. Odicci Alexander has been that and so much more. She’s an inspiration.

I’ve never met this extraordinary young woman, but people who do know her (including our sports reporter, Mike Moseley, and news reporter, Susan Kyte) attest to the quality of her character, Not that you couldn’t tell as much by watching her on TV — where her winning combination of fire, grace and humility have turned her into a media sensation. Governor of Oklahoma, please, How about Queen.

It is truly wild to consider the brilliance of Mecklenburg’s finest athletes — NBA star and Portland Trail Blazers icon Jerome Kersey; Major League Baseball player and U.S. Olympian Michael Tucker; NFL players Waverly Jackson, Ben Coleman and Howard Feggins; and of course, the latest locals to ascend to the pro ranks, Keldon Johnson with the NBA San Antonio Spurs (a really fun player, to watch, by the way) and his brother Kaleb, now playing for the Spurs G League team. It’s pretty incredible that a county as small as Mecklenburg would produce so many standouts in their respective sports, and Odicci Alexander now has joined their ranks by performing so magnificently in the upper echelons of her game. Here’s hoping she follows Michael Tucker to the Olympics someday. Meantime, as long as we’re handing out plaudits, let’s reserve one for the Roanoke River Service Authority — is it the water around these parts, or what?

The excitement of this past week says a lot about the youth programs that nourished Odicci every step of the way in her athletic career — on the summer ballfields, the playing courts, up through middle school and high school. It’s no secret that our school athletic facilities are mediocre at best and embarrassing at their worst, which underscores just how much a host of dedicated and caring people have worked to overcome these odds and provide an enriching sports experience for so many kids. Everyone associated with Mecklenburg County athletics — high school and middle school coaches, Dixie League program leaders, travel ball organizers — can take rightful pride in Odicci’s accomplishments — because they’ve helped provide the environment from whence her excellence, and the excellence of others, has sprung.

The old saying is that victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. People who play sports win and lose all the time if they stick with it, but seeing someone you know, directly or indirectly, blossom into an assured, confidence and extremely capable young person at the top of their game is not only gratifying, it’s infectious. There’s plenty of room for everyone on the Odicci Alexander-JMU softball express.

South Boston News
Odicci Alexander pitching at the Super Regionals against Missouri.

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