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LAFAKIS: Finding my way

When I arrived in Minot, I began a personal quest. I want to find out why they call this place the “Magic City.” That nickname certainly intrigues me. I’ll get back to that later, because I have to take care of some business before then.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read the news each and every day. Many Minot area residents read this newspaper, and that means a lot to me.

As the new sports reporter, it is my duty to bring the best coverage I can possibly provide. I promise I will embrace that opportunity with open arms.

I started at the Minot Daily News two days ago on my 23rd birthday. I was chomping at the bit to begin, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to spend the day doing something I love. I wrote a story and took photos at a baseball diamond.

The previous sentence describes something I’ve done dozens of times before, but yesterday felt extra-special. I’m in a new place, with new people, starting a brand-new chapter of my journey. Also, it was quite fun to document the Expedition League’s top sluggers competing in a Home Run Derby. There’s nothing like summer baseball.

I come to Minot by way of Indiana, which feels like a faraway land now. I am a native Hoosier and stayed in-state for college. I attended Butler University in Indianapolis and enjoyed some of the greatest experiences any college student could ever ask for.

I represent Butler with pride, but my college years are in the past. I’m now living over 1,000 miles away from my alma mater. It’s time for me to focus on the present, and I truly feel like it’s a gift.

I’ve spent just five days in Minot, but I am already loving it here. I feel welcomed. I’m an only child 15 hours away from home, but the individuals I’ve met so far could not be any more gracious and receptive. It doesn’t matter where I go, whether it be the gas station, the bank or the ballpark. “North Dakota nice” is truly a thing.

In fact, I had my “welcome to North Dakota” moment when I arrived in Fargo. I walked around North Dakota State University with my family, taking in the new state’s surroundings. I announced my decision to join the Minot Daily News on Twitter, and instantly received a direct message from a huge Butler basketball fan born and raised in Minot.

How’s that for serendipity?

Sports weave the fabric of my life. I couldn’t imagine living without them. I’ve covered state championships, Big East Tournaments and March Madness. Even after covering those types of events, I’m able to find the beauty in a high school softball game on a Tuesday afternoon, or a wrestling match on a Thursday night.

Sporting events are like snowflakes. No two are alike.

I love journalism, and I have honed my craft in nearly all its forms. My high school and college journalism programs laid the foundation for me to get here. I learned quite a few lessons along the way.

I believe everyone has a story to tell. I don’t think there’s any greater feeling than finishing a piece and sending it off. Going along with that, capturing a memorable photo in an intense moment brings me great joy. I chase those fleeting spurts.

I can officially say I wrote a story and took photos in North Dakota, a state I had never traveled to before last week. This is just the beginning, however. I have a long way to go, and I have a whole lot to learn.

The answer to my Magic City question won’t come right away. It will reveal itself piece by piece, brick by brick.

I look forward to seeking the truth.

This is the opinion of Jimmy Lafakis. He covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.

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