MARTINEZ: Goodbye, Minot

Y’all weren’t lying.

When I accepted the job as a sports writer for the Minot Daily News in August of 2018, I got numerous warnings from locals. For those who don’t know, I’m from Texas, and I drive a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro.

Everyone I talked to told me that I would be doomed when winter came around.

“Bad idea, buddy,” they said.

“You might want to buy a truck,” they said.

For those who do know me, you know that I didn’t listen. Instead, I tried to gut it out. I would be fine as long as I stayed on the main road and drove slowly, right?

Right, for the most part. Like a pro, I made it through October without any problems.

I got cocky, and Mother Nature decided to humble me one day in early November when I had my guard down. It was a light day in terms of snow. The sun was out, and my drive to work was smooth.

Then I got to the parking lot outside the office, and you know what hit the fan. Blocking the entrance to the lot was a small cluster of snow. It was maybe three inches tall, and I was sure I would be able to drive through it with ease.

I was so wrong.

As soon as my tires made contact with the snow, I knew. My car came to an immediate standstill.

I’m not going to lie to you. I panicked. I stomped on the gas pedal a solid 10 times, which only buried my tires even more. Out of options, I swallowed my pride and gave my sports editor, Alex Eisen, a call.

“Uhm, hey,” I said sheepishly over the phone. “I’m stuck.”

“What do you mean you’re stuck?” Alex replied, knowing there was practically no snow outside.

“My car. It’s, like, for real stuck. I’m not sure what to do,” I said.

“Where are you?”

“I’m, uhm, right outside the parking lot.”

Alex had a good laugh for a couple seconds.

“Okay, I’m heading out,” he said.

Out came Alex, shovel in hand, to the rescue. For the next five minutes, he dug out snow around my car in an effort to free it up while I continued to stomp on the gas.

It’s worth mentioning that the Ward County Jail is right across the street from our office. By this time all of the inmates were looking out the windows of their cells, watching the latest episode of “Dumb and Dumber.”

Alex eventually got my car free, and I drove the short 15 feet to the first available parking spot. My co-workers, of course, let me hear it as I walked into the office with my tail between my legs and proceeded to look up the cost of snow tires.

That was one of the rough days during my time in Minot, but moments like that were few and far between.

All in all, I enjoyed my time working for the Minot Daily News. I got to work with some great writers, and I got to cover some great athletes.

But, most of all, I got to meet good people. Being a part of this town really is like being part of a family, and that made moments like my snow fiasco worth it.

It’s on that note that I’m moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to cover New Mexico State men’s basketball. No, it’s not because the weather defeated me. It’s a chance to move closer to home, and I couldn’t pass it up.

I’m always going to be grateful to this town for giving a kid straight out of college his first opportunity. I wouldn’t have wanted to start anywhere else.

I leave Minot a better writer than when I got here, so thank you.

Also, if anyone is looking to buy some gently-used jackets, feel free to contact me for a great price.

This is the opinion of Justin Martinez. He can still be reached on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.


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