If you’re reading this article right now, chances are that you’re not doing what Alexis Pack is doing. The senior point guard for Mulhall-Orlando is likely in the gym right now working on her craft. She’s pounding the ball into the court with her left hand while her right hand is tied behind her back. When she messes up, Pack pounds the ball off the wall in frustration. If these bruised walls inside the basketball gym in Orlando could talk, they’d tell you a story about dedication. A story about how a second grader saw the path of her life unfold so clearly that anything other than following it would be a disservice to herself. No, if these walls could talk, they’d tell you one of the best love stories ever told.
Pack’s passion for the game of basketball is unmatched. From the moment she wakes up until the second she goes to sleep, basketball dominates her thoughts. It’s something so embedded in her psyche that it’s hard for her to understand when others aren’t on the same wavelength as her.
“I just love the game of basketball,” Pack said. “Ever since I was little I could tell you what happened in this game or that game. I could tell you who messed up where. People probably think I’m nuts because that’s all I talk about. It’s probably why I have no life, to be honest. It’s just fun to me.”
It’s probably why Pack holds the school record in pretty much every statistical category. In fact, by the time Pack graduates, her school records likely won’t be touched again. It’s why Mulhall-Orlando Head Coach Becki Meuten says she will likely never have a player like Pack again in her coaching career.
“She is hands down the best leader I’ve ever had,” Meuten said. “She’s been this way since I’ve known her. She pushes herself, I never have to push her. There are a lot of good players out there, but players like her are rare. I’ve had good point guards before, but I’ve never had one like that, a girl that is her own self-motivator. She knew what she wanted when I first got here and that was to play college ball. Her work ethic is amazing.”
We’re all cousins. That’s one of Pack’s favorite lines from the Bee Movie. It’s a movie that she watches the night before every game. It’s a tradition that started before playing rival Coyle in the fifth grade. Now as a senior, it’s a ritual she still follows. But to get to the point where she watches the movie, she has to check a few things off her to-do list.
First, Pack will watch film with the team. She’ll jot down some notes to review later that night. Then she’ll take the film home and watch it by herself.
“I’ll take the film home and watch it by myself and I’ll write my negatives out and what I can do better then I’ll write the positives and how I can make those even better,” Pack said. “I’m addicted to it. I don’t understand people who say I’m so dumb because this is all I do. I’m really not. This is going to get me an education one day in college. I love this game. I might not be the best player and I know that I’ll never be, but I’m going to work my hardest to be the best.”
Pack’s preparation from the night before seeps into the next day. She still has a notebook from PGC Camp (Point Guard College) that she studies from front to back before every game. Tucked inside the notebook are things about pivoting out of pressure or how to peek and scan the floor. She reads it from cover to cover and when she finishes she starts over again.
Learning the game is not something that Pack not only wants to do; it’s what she has to do. It is a thirst that can only be quenched by watching hours and hours of games. Her head coach says she will get messages from Pack at random times during the day to dissect plays.
“She is a student of the game,” Meuten said. “I’ll get a text message from her asking if I saw this or saw that and I’ll say no, but I’ll give it a look. She’s just a fan. It’s contagious.”
Pack already knows what she wants to do with her life. She wants to finish her high school career with a state title. Then she’s going to go on and play college ball. After that, she’s going to come home and coach under Meuten before replacing her.
“I want to go to college and major in education and then I want to come back here and coach under (Meuten) and then she can let me take over after about four years,” Pack said holding back some laughter.
Pack and Meuten have a special bond. It is one that formed several years ago but one that has deepened over the last two years. Meuten almost sees her as a player/coach. She’s already like her assistant. Pack loves how intense of a coach Meuten is. It’s why when she signs to play college ball at the next level, the school she picks has to have a coach as intense as she is, if not more. Pack admires her head coach. She calls Meuten her biggest role model. It’s why when she comes back to coach in the future, she wants to coach just like her.
“When I say that I want to coach just like her, I’m serious,” Pack said. “If I could choose one thing that I would most want to replicate it would be the affect she has on her players for life. She views them as more than a player. She cares about everybody. The care and affect she has on a person lasts forever. I never want to play for another coach if they aren’t like her.”
Pack has a while before she finishes the path set out for her as a second grader. Right now she’s just enjoying playing with her team and working on getting to the Big House for a state championship. She doesn’t want to fast forward through her senior year. She’s enjoying it too much. That’s why if you were to drive up to the basketball gym in Orlando right now, you would probably see her dribbling with one hand tied behind her back. Bouncing the ball off the wall if she messes up.