Staring out the window of a charter bus riding through downtown Fargo.
That’s where you could have found me on December 14, 2012. I was enroute to the FargoDome from the Radisson hotel to cheer on our football team who would face North Dakota State that night. I had already been to Fargo once for the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs ... and here our team was, doing the exact same thing 12 months later.
As I passed the Fargo theater and several store fronts, I had a conversation in my head … not the crazy kind … just the kind of conversation where you’re just trying to take in everything.
Well, because I figured the odds of my coming back to Fargo were slim…slim to nothing. I had never really given much thought to the Dakotas before, but I was pretty sure I would never purposely visit here again. Not because it wasn’t a fun experience (it was, besides losing), but if I were going to spend money on a vacation, I’d probably choose a beach somewhere… really anywhere … but the Dakotas.
What a happy chuckle that must have given God the moment those thoughts ran through my head.
I graduated from Georgia Southern May of 2014 at the age of 22, and two weeks later I was moving my life across the country … to … the Dakotas. First to Fargo for eight months, then to Sioux Falls. Hard to believe this May would have been 4 years since I made such a grown up decision.
In that time, I’ve held three different jobs which have led me to wonderful people along the way. I’ve gotten married to the reason (the person) that I initially came to the Dakotas. We’ve bought a puppy that was bred and born in the state of Minnesota. Although those sound like story-book moments, and they are, each of them has come with some hardships sprinkled along the way. I tell you that only to share reality to those that think great things come without adversity…only the best things come with some adversity and through a lot of prayer.
Let’s talk a little bit about sports now. I grew up in SEC country (eye rolls ensue), but seriously, I grew up around great football programs, both at the FBS level and the FCS level. When Georgia Southern played North Dakota State in 2011 and 2012, we couldn’t believe that “ya’ll knew how to play football here.” Although North Dakota State has had unprecedented success over the years, that does not leave out South Dakota State and now South Dakota … not to mention the whole entire Missouri Valley Football Conference, which is just impressive. I truly am a believer in this conference and think the teams within it could give several FBS conferences a run for their money. Oh wait, you already have.
And let’s not even get on the topic about basketball … actually, let’s do. That might even be more impressive than the football minds that exist here in the Midwest. The Summit League Tournament is a must see for basketball fans. The men’s and women’s rivalries throughout the regular season schedule make that exciting too, and trust me, it is NOT like that everywhere. I’m, of course, partial to USD, SDSU, NDSU, and now even UND since those are the schools that Midco Sports covers closely, but every one of those programs has raised the bar every season I’ve been here. Just wow!
And women’s basketball in the Dakotas sometimes has more fans in the stands than the men’s teams … and let me say THAT happens almost NOWHERE! Teams making the national tournaments and teams winning national tournaments (that’s a nod to you, USD WNIT 2015-16 team) take such great talent and make such great rivalries!
The last team that I want to talk about is the team with whom I’ve spent the last three football seasons … and that’s the team at Midco Sports Network. There just can’t be many places where every single coworker is a joy to work with. Viewers know the wonderful personalities with whom I get to share the camera, but all of us at Midco know that our control room guys, our producers/directors, our freelancers, and even more importantly our engineers are the ones that truly make the magic happen.
We each have our own jobs. We strive for greatness every day. We truly care not only about the teams that we cover but the actual faces with whom we come in contact. To top it all off, we truly enjoy working together to bring viewers our very best.
If you’re not on the Midco train yet, you have some time, but this place is taking off in a hurry. If you can be a part of it as a viewer, a team, a company, an employee … you’ll only look back later and think, “What took me so long?”
Unfortunately, there is bad news about being in an area that I’ve come to love while also working on a wonderful team. I have to leave. My husband and I are moving to the Southeast, and while it is an extremely exciting time in our lives, it is also bittersweet ... mainly because of all the things I’ve listed above.
In just under four years’ time, I’ve made this my home. I joke with my husband now that if he had told me we were moving to the Southeast four years ago, I would have beat him to the car. But certainly, after adjusting to a new norm, I’m the one that’s probably dragged my feet a little.
Before I leave, though, I want to say thank you … thank you to Midco, thank you to my coworkers, and thank you to the teams, the athletes, and the coaches for not only letting me be a part of this amazing sports’ culture but for also welcoming me to your teams.
For the viewers and our producers who have had to watch me learn how to get comfortable on camera ... let’s be honest, that takes a lot of patience, kindness, and encouragement ... and for that I say thank you, too!
December 9, 2017 … just a week short of exactly five years later … after what I thought would be my final trip to the Midwest, you’ll find me on a plane, probably staring out the window again. This time, no talking to myself, just a prayer of thankfulness to God’s faithfulness in what now feels like such a short time here, and thankfully, I’m not saying goodbye to the Dakotas forever … just see you later.