Big things happen in small places, especially when you least expect them to. Dickinson, North Dakota taught me that.
Of all the articles I've ever had to write, this is by far the most challenging. Words can't describe what this city means to me and my career. I guess, the only thing I can say is it has been an abundance of pure blessings.
When you graduate from college, all you hope for is someone to give you a shot. To take a chance on you, teach you and help you learn and grow. Not only did the Dickinson Press do that and the city of Dickinson supply that, they gave me a family that I could have never imagined.
Coming to Dickinson, I was terrified. I was alone, eight hours away from the only home I had ever known where my friends and family resided. In college, they always told me I would have to move outwards of the city to get back in, but I didn't know it had to be that far out. If anything were to have happened to me, I was on my own. It was my biggest challenge, proving to my parents, my sister, my friends, and myself, I could make it on my own.
Dickinson allowed me to achieve that goal. Now, I know that I can take on anything in life. I owe that to the friends that I made and the relationships that I've built that have allowed me to get to this point.
Now I would be lying if I said I did not face difficult challenges during my time in Dickinson.
Converting to the news side of things, after being The Press' sports reporter for only four months, was difficult. It was something I knew very little about outside of a college classroom, and having to learn as I went for 10 months during a highly unprecedented pandemic...was hard. As I returned to Dickinson, after a month of working remotely from Minneapolis, I watched my own city go up in flames on television following the death of George Floyd. I didn't know what was happening to my own family. Were they safe?
A long and challenging time.
Eventually, I would convert back to sports and take on the challenge of doing a two-man job by myself. People give me the credit, but I would have not been able to get through this without my family here at The Dickinson Press.
What these people mean to me, words truly can't describe. I would not be the writer I am, nor the person I am today without them. I left my family in Minnesota, but I gained another in North Dakota.
James, Joy, Josiah, Cindi, Jenn, Caleb, Jackie, Jake and all the others I could not name that I have worked with in the past, you will forever be a part of my family. I love you all so much and am thankful that you took a chance on a kid fresh out of college hoping for a shot.
Today I'm moving on to a dream job in Minnesota. I have become what I always dreamed of being: More confident and prepared to take on the world. A man that's not afraid to take on a challenge and prove that it can get done, and a person that can make others smile.
To the coaches and staff that I have worked with, you've been purely incredible.
To name them all, we'd be here all day and so while I can't thank each of you enough for helping me grow and helping me get to where I am now, I will say some brief things about a few.
Dickinson State's Jennifer Willis, Eric Nelson, Justin Schlecht, Michael Dahl, and one could never forget... Pete Stanton.
Dickinson High's Dan Glasser, John Tuchscherer, Dallas Kuntz and athletic director Guy Fridley.
Trinity's Gregg Grinsteinner, Breanna Sisson and John Odermann.
The Badlands Bigsticks' Billy Tomblin and Jason Watson. To these two, thank you both so much for making my time so memorable and the games so amazing to cover.
At schools outside the region, I thank Al Swanson and Mike Zier in Beach; Ronnie Stewart of Heart River; Kelly Pierce of Hettinger-Scranton; Kaine Hanson of New England; and Kari Dohrmann of Richardton-Taylor. Each of them all have a special place in my heart.
To my fellows in the media, Rod Kleinjan and Jim Dahl of KDIX Radio, it was an honor working with you both. Luke Gamble, I wish you the best of luck as well, my friend.
To all the players that I have met, interviewed and covered... it has been an honor to cover you and watch you grow both in sports and in the community. I have covered some amazing stories, game winners, athletes downing cancer, winning regional championships, I am not where I am today without all of you.
I thank you all and wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.
The difference nearly two years can make in a life is pretty surreal. When I first arrived 19 months ago, I thought leaving would be somewhat difficult but manageable — today the word goodbye does not want to leave my mouth.
The memories I've created, spending time in the beautiful hills of Medora, watching the sunset in Glendive, Mont., having Army's nights, getting a burger at Blue 42, my First-on-First experiences, the UFC PPV's at Buffalo Wild Wings, the refreshing beer at Spur's bar after a long and stressful day... Memories that I will hold dear of my times on the Western Edge. I will also miss going back to my beautiful apartment at Mallard Falcon Heights, with a landlord that helped me out in every way possible. Thanks Cyndy for everything. And spending time with friends and watching hockey or playing games!
I honestly could keep going but like all good things, including my time here in Dickinson, it must come to an end. I will be returning to Minnesota and will be writing for the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter, but I will forever miss this city.
I've earned many awards in my young career, but of all of them, calling Dickinson home and knowing that my name will forever be a part of this beautiful city's newspaper will always be a huge achievement.
Just remember, it's never goodbye... Only a see you later.
Thank you, Dickinson, for everything.